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Presented to the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 
LIBRARY 

by the 

ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE 
LIBRARY 

1980 



BLACKWOOD'S 



MAGAZINE. 




VOL. CLXV. 



JUNE 1899. 





WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBUKGH ; 

AND 

37 PATERNOSTEK ROW, LONDON. 



1899. 
All Rights of Translation and Republication reserved. 



A? 




BLACK WOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. 

No. DCCCCXCIX. JANUARY 1899. VOL. CLXV. 



CONTENTS. 

NO-MAN'S-LAND. BY JOHN BUCHAN, ... 1 

ROMANCE OF THE FUR TRADE : THE MOUNTAIN MEN, . 37 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP A CHILD. CHAPS, xv.-xrx., . 52 

MEN WHO HAVE KEPT A DlARY. BY W. SlCHEL, . 70 
THE PRESERVATION OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS. 

BY ALFRED SHARPE, 89 

MONTROSE AND ARGYLL IN FICTION, . . . 93 
THE CARLISTS: THEIR CASE, THEIR CAUSE, THEIR 

CHIEFS, . . . . . .106 

LORD LYONS, . . . . . . 120 

FROM FOREIGN PARTS : A SONG OF DEVON. 

BY EDWARD A. IRVING, 137 
THE REBEL KING, . . . . . .138 

THE LOOKER-ON, . . . . . . 151 

THE RADICAL SPLIT : HOW PLEASING TO OUR FRIENDS ABROAD 
THE SECRET OF SIR EDMUND MONSON'S SPEECH THE BETTER 
WAY WITH MR GLADSTONE'S BIOGRAPHY : Two HARMONIOUS 
CONTRIBUTIONS THERETO BROWNING'S OWN STORY ABOUT MR 
DISRAELI. 



EDINBURGH 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET, 
AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 

To whom all Communications must be addressed. 



, 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. 

No. M. FEBRUARY 1899. VOL. CLXV. 

SPECIAL DOUBLE NUMBER. 



CONTENTS. 

OUR FATHERS. BY ANDREW LANG, . . . .165 

NOCTES AMBROSIAN^J. No. LXXIL, . . . .167 

MAG A : AN EXCELLENT NEW SONG. To EXILES. BY NKIL 
MUNBO. THE NORTH-WEST CANADA. BY MOIBA O'NEILL. 
THE HEART OP DARKNESS. BY JOSEPH CONRAD, . . 193 

SEVENTY YEARS AT WESTMINSTER. II. 

BY RIGHT HON. SIR JOHN R. MOWBRAY, BART., M.P., 221 
FROM THE NEW GIBBON, . . . . .241 

A DAUGHTER OP THE MUHAMMAD ANS. BY HUGH CLIFFORD, . 250 
UNDER THE BEARD OP BUCHANAN, . . . .264 

ROMANCE OP THE MINES: CALIPORNIAN GOLD DISCOVERIES, . 272 
THE GIFT OP FULFILMENT. BY BEATRICE HARRADEN, . 283 

XANTE LOTJE, . . . . . .287 

JAMAICA: AN IMPRESSION. BY IAN MALCOLM, M.P., . 304 

A BIRTHDAY LETTER OP APOLOGY. BY EDWARD A. IRVING, . 312 
MADONNA OF THE PEACH-TREE. BY MAURICE HEWLETT, . 317 
ANNO DOMINI, . . . . . .351 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OP A CHILD. CHAPS. XX.-XXIIL, . . 364 

A LETTER FROM SALAMANCA. 

BY LT.-GEN. SIR HENRY BRACKENBURY, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., 376 
THE SWORD OP CORPORAL LACOSTE. BY BERNARD CAPES, . 385 
A VAGABOND POET. BY CHARLES WHIBLEY, . . . 402 

WILDFOWL- SHOOTING IN THE OUTER HEBRIDES. 

BY GILFRID W. HARTLEY, 413 
THE LOOKER-ON, . . . . . .427 

' MAGA'S ' THOUSANDTH NUMBER THE LESSON or THE MADAGAS- 
CAB PAPEBS THE RUSSIAN PEACE PBOPOSALS THE BISHOPS AND 
THEIB TOO PBIESTLY PBIESTS MB LECKY ON MB GLADSTONE: 
AND THE BOEHM STOBY. 
A NOTE ON EASTERN POLICY, . . . .443 

NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND POPULAR DEMANDS, . . 448 



EDINBURGH. 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET, 
AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 

To whom all Communications must be addressed. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE, 



No. ML MARCH 1899. VOL. CLXY. 



CONTENTS. 

BYGONE DAYS. BY MRS CHARLES BAGOT, . . 461 

THE HEART OF DARKNESS. II. BY JOSEPH CONRAD, . 479 

THE SINS OF EDUCATION, .... 503 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A CHILD. CHAPS, xxiv.-xxv., . 514 

HODSON, ....... 522 

MOUNTAIN EXPLORATION IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES. 

BY HUGH E. M. STUTFIELD, . . . 540 

SIR GEORGE POMEROY-COLLEY : SOME PERSONAL RE- 
COLLECTIONS. BY GEN. SIR HENRY BRACKENBURY, 

K.C.B., K.C.S.I, 558 

THE GRAND MATCH. BY MOIRA O'NEILL, . . 572 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS, . . . 573 

SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN AS A HISTORIAN, . . 581 

THE LOOKER-ON, . . . . . . 591 

FRANCE: A HALT ON THE ROAD TO REVOLUTION PROTESTANT- 
ISM A RELIGION AND A POLITY NEW DEPARTURES IN CABINET 
GOVERNMENT MR WINTERLEY IN PARLIAMENT: AND ON THE 
GRAND PIANO. 

AN UNWRITTEN CHAPTER OF HISTORY : THE STRUGGLE 

FOR BORGU. With Map, .... 605 



EDINBURGH: 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET, 
AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 

To whom all Communications must be addressed. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE 



No, MIL APRIL 1899. VOL. CLXV. 



CONTENTS. 

THE THAMES AS A GAME-FISH KIVEK, . . . 621 

THE HEART OF DARKNESS. III. BY JOSEPH CONRAD, 634 
"CHRISTIAN" QUACKERY, . . . . 658 

AT THE BACK OF BEYOND. BY LOUISE LORIMER, 669 

LIKE TO LIKE : A TRIVIAL ROMANCE. CHAPS. i.-v. 

BY G. S. STREET, 682 

BIRDS. BY MOIRA O'NEILL, . . . 703 

THE RETREAT FROM LEIPSIC, . . . 704 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A CHILD. CONCLUSION, . .707 

GEORGE BORROW, . . . . . .724 

ROMANCE OF THE MINES : THE NEVADA SILVER BOOM, 735 
A NEW HISTORY OF SCOTLAND, . . -. , . . 746 

THE LOOKER-ON, . . . . .759 

DEFICIT, AND ITS TIMELY SUGGESTIONS THE WAR -CALL FOB 
INDIRECT TAXATION THE WHY - NOT OF AGREEMENT WITH 
RUSSIA LORD SALISBURY ON THE CONFESSIONAL: HIS ADVICE 
TO THE BISHOPS. 

A YEAR'S DIPLOMACY IN PEKING, . . .773 



EDINBURGH: 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET, 
AND 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 

To whom all Communications must be addressed. 



BLACK WOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. 

No. Mill. MAY 1899. VOL. CLXV. 



CONTENTS. 

PlONEEEING IN KLONDIKE. BY ALEXANDER MACDONALD, 781 

THE START FINNIGAN'S POINT THE ASCENT OP THE CHILCOOT 
FROM CRATER LAKE TO LINDERMAN INTRODUCES A YUKON 
BOAT ARRIVAL AT BENNETT LAKE FROM BENNETT NORTH- 
WARDS VARIOUS UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCES. 

THE GURKHA SCOUTS, . . . . .802 

LIKE TO LIKE. CONCLUSION. BY G. S. STREET, . 816 

His DAISY. BY W. H. H., . . . 833 

A VILLAGE SEMIRAMIS, ..... 835 

THE ORIGIN OF "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE," . . . 845 
ADMIRAL SIR W. MENDS : FIFTY-FIVE YEARS OF NAVAL 

SERVICE, 853 

A FORGOTTEN PURITAN COLONY, . . . .868 

A MASQUERADER. BY CHRISTIAN BURKE, . . 883 

AN IRISH BOSWELL, ..... 884 

CUTTIN' KUSHES. BY MOIRA O'NEILL, . . . 894 

THE RECORD OF A LIFE, ..... 895 

THE LOOKER-ON, ...... 905 

SAMOA CHINA BUDGET CRITICISM THE WEST INDIES FOR 
THE UNITED STATES MR WINTERLEY IN THE STUDIO AND AT 
THE PLAY. 

GERMANY'S INFLUENCE AT CONSTANTINOPLE, . . 921 



EDINBUEGH: 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEOEGE STEEET, 
AND 37 PATEENOSTEE EOW, LONDOK 

To whom all Communications must be addressed. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. 



No. MIV. JUNE 1899. VOL. CLXV. 



CONTENTS. 

A PRISONER UNDER NAPOLEON. 

EDITED BY PROFESSOR DOWDEN, 925 

ON BOARD THE RAMBLER CAPTURE OF FRENCH PRIZE PRIZE 
WRECKED ON A SHOAL TAKEN PRISONER PRISONERS OVER- 
POWER THE GUARD RECAPTURE MARCH IN IRONS TO VERDUN 
LIFE AT VERDUN ESCAPE ADVENTURES AGAIN CAPTURED 
SENT TO STRASBURG RETURN MARCH TO VERDUN REMOVED 
TO THE DUNGEONS OF BITCHE THE SOUTERRAINS OF BITCHE 
A CHANGE FOR THE WORSE BACK IN VERDUN THE EMPEROR'S 
VISITS: HIS CHURLISH BEHAVIOUR THE IRISH BRIGADE AN 
IRISH SPY THE ALLIES ADVANCE RELEASED BY COSSACKS 
MEETS PRINCE PLATOFF AND BULOW. 

ON TRIAL. CHAPS, i.-vi. BY ZACK, . . . 959 

RUSTIGUS IN URBE. BY A COUNTRY COUSIN, . . 974 

PIONEERING IN KLONDIKE. BY ALEXANDER MACDONALD, 986 

WHITE HORSE RAPIDS SCANT SNOWFALL IN THE INTERIOR 
THE SILVER GREYS ARRIVAL AT BIG SALMON RIVER FIGHT- 
ING THE ELEMENTS THE CAPITAL OF THE NORTH THE FROZEN 
ELDORADO PECULIARITIES AND PROSPECTS THE EXODUS. 

LUMSDEN OF THE GUIDES, . . . . 1003 

THE CASE OF THE PHILIPPINES, . . . 1016 

THE KENTUCKY GIRL. BY W. H. H., . . 1030 

POLO AND POLITICS. BY THOMAS F. DALE, . . 1032 

THE OULD LAD. BY MOIRA O'NEILL, . . . 1037 

A TYRANNY OF SENTIMENT. BY FREDERICK GREENWOOD, 1038 
THE NEGATIVE RULER OF FRANCE, . . .1052 

WEI-HAI-WEI: ITS VALUE AS A NAVAL STATION, . 1069 

INDEX, 1078 



EDINBUEGH: 

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEOEGE STEEET, 
AND 37 PATEENOSTEE EOW, LONDON. 

To whom all Communications must be addressed. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBUBGH MAGAZINE. 



No. DCCCCXCIX. JANUARY 1899. 



VOL. CLXV. 



NO -MAN'S -LAND. 1 



CHAPTER I. THE SHIELING OF TARAWA. 



i 



IT was with a light heart and 
a pleasing consciousness of holi- 
day that I set out from the inn 
at Allermuir to tramp my fifteen 
miles into the unknown. I 
walked slowly, for I carried my 
equipment on my back my 
basket, fly-books and rods, my 
plaid of Grant tartan (for I 
boast myself a distant kinsman 
of that house), and my great 
staff, which had tried ere then 
the front of the steeper Alps. 
A small valise with books and 
some changes of linen clothing 
had been sent on ahead in the 
shepherd's own hands. It was 
yet early April, and before me 
lay four weeks of freedom 
twenty -eight blessed days in 
which to take fish and smoke 
the pipe of idleness. The Lent 



term had pulled me down, a 
week of modest enjoyment there- 
after in town had finished the 
work ; and I drank in the sharp 
moorish air like a thirsty man 
who has been forwandered 
among deserts. 

I am a man of varied tastes 
and a score of interests. As an 
undergraduate I had been filled 
with the old mania for the com- 
plete life. I distinguished my- 
self in the Schools, rowed in my 
college eight, and reached the 
distinction of practising for 
three weeks in the Trials. I 
had dabbled in a score of 
learned activities, and when 
the time came that I won the 
inevitable St Chad's fellowship 
on my chaotic acquirements, 
and I found myself compelled 



1 Copyright in the United States of America. 
VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



to select if I would pursue a 
scholar's life, I had some toil 
in finding my vocation. In the 
end I resolved that the ancient 
life of the North, of the Celts 
and the Northmen and the un- 
known Pictish tribes, held for 
me the chief fascination. 1 had 
acquired a smattering of Gaelic, 
having been brought up as a 
boy in Lochaber, and now I set 
myself to increase my store of 
languages. I mastered Erse 
and Icelandic, and my first 
book a monograph on the 
probable Celtic elements in 
the Eddie songs brought me 
the praise of scholars and 
the deputy-professor's chair of 
Northern Antiquities. So much 
for Oxford. My vacations had 
been spent mainly in the North 
in Ireland, Scotland, and the 
Isles, in Scandinavia and Ice- 
land, once even in the far limits 
of Finland. I was a keen sports- 
man of a sort, an old-experienced 
fisher, a fair shot with gun and 
rifle, and in my hillcraf t I might 
well stand comparison with most 
men. April has ever seemed to 
me the finest season of the year 
even in our cold northern alti- 
tudes, and the memory of many 
bright Aprils had brought me 
up from the South on the night 
before to Allerfoot, whence a 
dogcart had taken me up Glen 
Aller to the inn at Allermuir; 
and now the same desire had set 
me on the heather with my face 
to the cold brown hills. 

You are to picture a sort 
of plateau, benty and rock- 
strewn, running ridge - wise 
above a chain of little peaty 
lochs and a vast tract of in- 
exorable bog. In a mile the 
ridge ceased in a shoulder of 



hill, and over this lay the head 
of another glen, with the same 
doleful accompaniment of sun- 
less lochs, mosses, and a shining 
and resolute water. East and 
west and north, in every direc- 
tion save the south, rose walls 
of gashed and serrated hills. 
It was a grey day with blinks 
of sun, and when a ray chanced 
to fall on one of the great dark 
faces, lines of light and colour 
sprang into being which told of 
mica and granite. I was in 
high spirits, as on the eve of 
holiday ; I had breakfasted ex- 
cellently on eggs and salmon- 
steaks ; I had no cares to speak 
of, and my prospects were not 
uninviting. But in spite of 
myself the landscape began to 
take me in thrall and crush me. 
The silent vanished peoples of 
the hills seemed to be stirring ; 
dark primeval faces seemed to 
stare at me from behind 
boulders and jags of rock. 
The place was so still, so free 
from the cheerful clamour of 
nesting birds, that it seemed 
a temenos sacred to some old- 
world god. At my feet the 
lochs lapped ceaselessly; but the 
waters were so dark that one 
could not see bottom a foot 
from the edge. On my right 
the links of green told of snake- 
like mires waiting to crush the 
unwary wanderer. It seemed 
to me for the moment a land 
of death, where the tongues 
of the dead cried aloud for 
recognition. 

My whole morning's walk 
was full of such fancies. I lit 
a pipe to cheer me, but the 
things would not be got rid of. 
I thought of the Gaels who had 
held those fastnesses; I thought 



1899.] 



No-Man' s-Land. 






of the Britons before them, who 
yielded to their advent. They 
were all strong peoples in their 
day, and now they had gone 
the way of the earth. They 
had left their mark on the 
levels of the glens and on the 
more habitable uplands, both in 
names and in actual forts, and 
graves where men might still 
dig curios. But the hills that 
black stony amphitheatre before 
me it seemed strange that the 
hills bore no traces of them. 
And then with some uneasiness 
I reflected on that older and 
stranger race who were said to 
have held the hill-tops. The 
Picts, the Picti what in the 
name of goodness were they? 
They had troubled me in all my 
studies,, a sort of blank wall to 
put an end to speculation. We 
knew nothing of them save 
certain strange names which 
men called Pictish, the names 
of those hills in front of me 
the Muneraw, the Yirnie, the 
Calmarton. They were the 
corpus vile for learned experi- 
ment ; but Heaven alone knew 
what dark abyss of savagery 
once yawned in the midst of 
the desert. 

And then I remembered the 
crazy theories of a pupil of 
mine at St Chad's, the son of 
a small landowner on the Aller, 
a young gentleman who had 
spent his substance too freely 
at Oxford, and was now dree- 
ing his weird in the Backwoods. 
He had been no scholar ; but a 
certain imagination marked all 
his doings, and of a Sunday 
night he would come and talk 
to me of the North. The Picts 
were his special subject, and his 
ideas were mad. "Listen to 



me," he would say, when I had 
mixed him toddy and given him 
one of my cigars; "I believe 
there are traces ay, and more 
than traces of an old culture 
lurking in those hills and wait- 
ing to be discovered. We never 
hear of the Picts being driven 
from the hills. The Britons 
drove them from the lowlands, 
the Gaels from Ireland did the 
same for the Britons; but the 
hills were left unmolested. We 
hear of no one going near them 
except outlaws and tinklers. 
And in that very place you 
have the strangest mythology. 
Take the story of the Brownie. 
What is that but the story of 
a little swart man of uncom- 
mon strength and cleverness, 
who does good and ill indis- 
criminately, and then disap- 
pears. There are many scholars, 
as you yourself confess, who 
think that the origin of the 
Brownie was in some mad be- 
lief in the old race of the Picts, 
which still survived somewhere 
in the hills. And do we not 
hear of the Brownie in authen- 
tic records right down to the 
year 1756? After that, when 
people grew more incredulous, 
it is natural that the belief 
should have begun to die out ; 
but I do not see why stray 
traces should not have survived 
till late." 

"Do you not see what that 
means?" I had said in mock 
gravity. " Those same hills 
are, if anything, less known 
now than they were a hundred 
years ago. Why should not 
your Picts or Brownies be liv- 
ing to this day?" 

"Why not, indeed?" he had 
rejoined, in all seriousness. 



No-Maris-Land. 



[Jan. 



I laughed, and he went to his 
rooms and returned with a large 
leather - bound book. It was 
lettered, in the rococo style of 
a young man's taste, ' Glimpses 
of the Unknown,' and some of 
the said glimpses he proceeded 
to impart to me. It was not 
pleasant reading; indeed, I 
had rarely heard anything so 
well fitted to shatter sensitive 
nerves. The early part con- 
sisted of folk -tales and folk- 
sayings, some of them wholly 
obscure, some of them with a 
glint of meaning, but all of 
them with some hint of a 
mystery in the hills. I heard 
the Brownie story in countless 
versions. Now the thing was 
a friendly little man, who wore 
grey breeches and lived on 
brose ; now he was a twisted 
being, the sight of which made 
the ewes miscarry in the lamb- 
ing-time. But the second part 
was the stranger, for it was 
made up of actual tales, most 
of them with date and place 
appended. It was a most Bed- 
lamite catalogue of horrors, 
which, if true, made the whole- 
some moors a place instinct 
with tragedy. Some told of 
children carried away from vil- 
lages, even from towns, on the 
verge of the uplands. In al- 
most every case they were girls, 
and the strange fact was their 
utter disappearance. Two little 
girls would be coming home 
from school, would be seen last 
by a neighbour just where 
the road crossed a patch of 
heath or entered a wood, and 
then no human eye ever saw 
them again. Children's cries 
had startled outlying shepherds 
in the night, and when they 



had rushed to the door they 
could hear nothing but the 
night wind. The instances of 
such disappearances were not 
very common perhaps once in 
twenty years but they were 
confined to this one tract of 
country, and came in a sort of 
fixed progression from the mid- 
dle of last century, when the 
record began. But this was 
only one side of the history. 
The latter part was all devoted 
to a chronicle of crimes which 
had gone unpunished, seeing 
that no hand had ever been 
traced. The list was fuller in 
last century; in the earlier 
years of the present it had 
dwindled ; then came a revival 
about the 'fifties; and now 
again in our own time it had 
sunk low. At the little cottage 
of Auchterbrean, on the road- 
side in Glen Aller, a labourer's 
wife had been found pierced to 
the heart. It was thought to 
be a case of a woman's jealousy, 
and her neighbour was accused, 
convicted, and hanged. The 
woman, to be sure, denied the 
charge with her last breath ; but 
circumstantial evidence seemed 
sufficiently strong against her. 
Yet some people in the glen 
believed her guiltless. In par- 
ticular, the carrier who had 
found the dead woman declared 
that the way in which her 
neighbour received the news 
was a sufficient proof of inno- 
cence ; and the doctor who was 
first summoned professed him- 
self unable to tell with what 
instrument the wound had been 
given. But this was all before 
the days of expert evidence, so 
the woman had been hanged 
without scruple. Then there 



1899.' 



No-Marf s-Land. 



had been another story of pe- 
culiar horror, telling of the 
death of an old man at some 
little lonely shieling called Car- 
rickfey. But at this point I 
had risen in protest, and made 
to drive the young idiot from 
my room. 

" It was my grandfather who 
collected most of them," he said. 
"He had theories, 1 but people 
called him mad, so he was wise 
enough to hold his tongue. My 
father declares the whole thing 
mania ; but I rescued the book, 
had it bound, and added to the 
collection. It is a queer hobby ; 
but, as I say, I have theories, 
and there are more things in 
heaven and earth " 

But at this he heard a friend's 
voice in the Quad., and dived 
out, leaving the banal quotation 
unfinished. 

Strange though it may seem, 
this madness kept coming back 
to me as I crossed the last few 
miles of moor. I was now on a 
rough tableland, the watershed 
between two lochs, and beyond 
and above me rose the stony 
backs of the hills. The burns 
fell down in a chaos of granite 
boulders, and huge slabs of grey 
stone lay flat and tumbled in 
the heather. The full waters 



looked prosperously for my fish- 
ing, and I began to forget all 
fancies in anticipation of sport. 

Then suddenly in a hollow of 
land I came on a ruined cottage. 
It had been a very small place, 
but the walls were still half- 
erect, and the little moorland 
garden was outlined on the turf. 
A lonely apple-tree, twisted and 
gnarled with winds, stood in the 
midst. 

From higher up on the hill I 
heard a loud roar, and I knew 
my excellent friend the shepherd 
of Farawa, who had come thus 
far to meet me. He greeted me 
with the boisterous embarrass- 
ment which was his way of 
prefacing hospitality. A grave 
reserved man at other times, on 
such occasions he thought it 
proper to relapse into hilarity. 
I fell into step with him, and 
we set off for his dwelling. 
But first I had the curiosity to 
look back to the tumble-down 
cottage and ask him its name. 

A queer look came into his 
eyes. "They ca' the place 
Carrickfey," he said. "Nae- 
body has daured to bide there 
this twenty year sin' but I 
see ye ken the story." And, as 
if glad to leave the subject, he 
hastened to discourse on fishing. 



1 In the light of subsequent events I have jotted down the materials to which 
I refer. The last authentic record of the Brownie is in the narrative of the 
shepherd of Clachlands, taken down towards the close of last century by the 
Reverend Mr Gillespie, minister of Allerkirk, and included by him in his ' Songs 
and Legends of Glen Aller.' The authorities on the strange carry ing-away of 
children are to be found in a series of articles in a local paper, the 'Allerfoot 
Advertiser,' September and October 1878, and a curious book published anony- 
mously at Edinburgh in 1848, entitled 'The Weathergaw.' The records of the 
unexplained murders in the same neighbourhood are all contained in Mr Fordoun's 
' Theory of Expert Evidence, 5 and an attack on the book in the ' Law Review ' 
for June 1881. The Carrickfey case has a pamphlet to itself now extremely 
rare a copy of which was recently obtained in a bookseller's shop in Dumfries 
by a well-known antiquary, and presented to the library of the Supreme Court 
in Edinburgh. 



No-Marfs-Land. 



[Jan. 



CHAPTER II. TELLS OF AN EVENING'S TALK. 



The shepherd was a master- 
ful man ; tall, save for the stoop 
which belongs to all moorland 
folk, and active as a wild goat. 
He was not a new importation, 
nor did he belong to the place ; 
for his people had lived in the 
remote Borders, and he had 
come as a boy to this shieling 
of Farawa. He was unmarried, 
but an elderly sister lived with 
him and cooked his meals. He 
was reputed to be extraordin- 
arily skilful in his trade ; I know 
for a fact that he was in his 
way a keen sportsman ; and his 
few neighbours gave him credit 
for a sincere piety. Doubtless 
this last report was due in part 
to his silence, for after his first 
greeting he was wont to relapse 
into a singular taciturnity. As 
we strode across the heather he 
gave me a short outline of his 
year's lambing. "Five pair o' 
twins yestreen, twae this morn ; 
that makes thirty -five yowes 
that hae lambed since the Sab- 
bath. I'll dae weel if God's 
willin'." Then, as I looked to- 
wards the hill-tops whence the 
thin mist of morn was trailing, 
he followed my gaze. "See," 
he said with uplifted crook 
" see that sicht. Is that no 
what is written of in the Bible 
when it says, 'The mountains 
do smoke.' 5: And with this 
piece of apologetics he finished 
his talk, and in a little we were 
at the cottage. 

It was a small enough dwell- 
ing in truth, and yet large for 
a moorland house, for it had a 
garret- below the thatch, which 
was given up to my sole enjoy- 



ment. Below was the wide 
kitchen with box-beds, and next 
to it the inevitable second room, 
also with its cupboard sleeping- 
places. The interior was very 
clean, and yet I remember to 
have been struck with the faint 
musty smell which is insepar- 
able from moorland dwellings. 
The kitchen pleased me best, 
for there the great rafters were 
black with peat -reek, and the 
uncovered stone floor, on which 
the fire gleamed dully, gave an 
air of primeval simplicity. But 
the walls spoiled all, for tawdry 
things of to-day had penetrated 
even there. Some grocers' al- 
manacs years old hung in 
places of honour, and an extra- 
ordinary lithograph of the Royal 
Family in its youth. And this, 
mind you, between crooks and 
fishing-rods and old guns, and 
horns of sheep and deer. 

The life for the first day or 
two was regular and placid. I 
was up early, breakfasted on 
porridge (a dish which I detest), 
and then off to the lochs and 
streams. At first my sport 
prospered mightily. With a 
drake -wing I killed a salmon 
of seventeen pounds, and the 
next day had a fine basket of 
trout from a hill-burn. Then 
for no earthly reason the weather 
changed. A bitter wind came 
out of the north-east, bringing 
showers of snow and stinging 
hail, and lashing the waters 
into storm. It was now fare- 
well to fly-fishing. For a day 
or two I tried trolling with the 
minnow on the lochs, but it was 
poor sport, for I had no boat, 



1899.] 



No-Man's- Land. 



and the edges were soft and 
mossy. Then in disgust I gave 
up the attempt, went back to 
the cottage, lit my biggest pipe, 
and sat down with a book to 
await the turn of the weather. 

The shepherd was out from 
morning till night at his work, 
and when he came in at last, 
dog-tired, his face would be set 
and hard, and his eyes heavy 
with sleep. The strangeness of 
the man grew upon me. He 
had a shrewd brain beneath his 
thatch of hair, for I had tried 
him once or twice, and found 
him abundantly intelligent. He 
had some smattering of an edu- 
cation, like all Scottish peasants, 
and, as I have said, he was 
deeply religious. I set him 
down as a fine type of his class, 
sober, serious, keenly critical, 
free from the bondage of super- 
stition. But I rarely saw him, 
and our talk was chiefly in 
monosyllables short inter j ec- 
ted accounts of the number of 
lambs dead or alive on the hill. 
Then he would produce a pencil 
and notebook, and be immersed 
in some calculation ; and finally 
he would be revealed sleeping 
heavily in his chair, till his 
sister wakened him, and he 
stumbled oft 7 to bed. 

So much for the ordinary 
course of life; but one day 
the second I think of the bad 
weather the extraordinary 
happened. The storm had 
passed in the afternoon into a 
resolute and blinding snow, and 
the shepherd, finding it hope- 
less on the hill, came home 
about three o'clock. I could 
make out from his way of 
entering that he was in a 
great temper. He kicked his 



feet savagely against the door- 
post. Then he swore at his 
dogs, a thing I had never heard 
him do before. " HeU ! " he cried, 
" can ye no keep out o' my road, 
ye britts ? " Then he came sul- 
lenly into the kitchen, thawed 
his numbed hands at the fire, 
and sat down to his meal. 

I made some aimless remark 
about the weather. 

"Death to man and beast," 
he grunted. "I hae got the 
sheep doun frae the hill, but 
the lambs will never thole this. 
We maun pray that it will no 
last." 

His sister came in with some 
dish. " Margit," he cried, " three 
lambs away this morning, and 
three deid wi' the hole in the 
throat." 

The woman's face visibly 
paled. "Guid help us, Adam; 
that hasna happened this three 
year." 

"It has happened noo," he 
said, surlily. "But, by God! 
if it happens again I'll gang 
mysel' to the Scarts o' the 
Muneraw." 

" O Adam ! " the woman cried 
shrilly, " haud your tongue. Ye 
kenna wha hears ye. ' ' And with 
a frightened glance at me she 
left the room. 

I asked no questions, but 
waited till the shepherd's anger 
should cool. But the cloud did 
not pass so lightly. When he 
had finished his dinner he pulled 
his chair to the fire and sat star- 
ing moodily. He made some 
sort of apology to me for his 
conduct. "I'm sore troubled, 
sir ; but I'm vexed ye should see 
me like this. Maybe things 
will be better the morn." And 
then, lighting his short black 



8 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



pipe, he resigned himself to his 
meditations. 

But he could not keep quiet. 
Some nervous unrest seemed to 
have possessed the man. He 
got up with a start and went 
to the window, where the snow 
was drifting unsteadily past. 
As he stared out into the storm 
I heard him mutter to himself, 
"Three away, God help me, 
and three wi' the hole in the 
throat." 

Then he turned round to me 
abruptly. I was jotting down 
notes for an article I contem- 
plated in the 'Revue Celtique,' 
so my thoughts were far away 
from the present. The man re- 
called me by demanding fiercely, 
" Do ye believe in God ? " 

I gave him some sort of 
answer in the affirmative. 

"Then do ye believe in the 
Devil?" he asked. 

The reply must have been 
less satisfactory, for he came 
forward and flung himself vio- 
lently into the chair before me. 

" What do ye ken about it ? " 
he cried. " You that bides in a 
southern toun, what can ye ken 
o' the God that works in thae 
hills and the Devil ay, the 
manifold devils that He suffers 
to bide here? I tell ye, man, 
that if ye had seen what I have 
seen ye wad be on your knees 
at this moment praying to God 
to pardon your unbelief. There 
are devils at the back o' every 
stane and hidin' in every cleuch, 
and it's by the grace o' God 
alone that a man is alive upon 
the earth." His voice had risen 
high and shrill, and then sud- 
denly he cast a frightened 
glance towards the window 
and was silent. 



I began to think that the 
man's wits were unhinged, and 
the thought did not give me 
satisfaction. I had no relish A 
for the prospect of being left 
alone in this moorland dwell- 
ing with the cheerful company 
of a maniac. But his next 
movements reassured me. He 
was clearly only dead -tired, 
for he fell sound asleep in his 
chair, and by the time his sister 
brought tea and wakened him, 
he seemed to have got the better 
of his excitement. 

When the window was shut- 
tered and the lamp lit, I set 
myself again to the completion 
of my notes. The shepherd had 
got out his Bible, and was sol- 
emnly reading with one great 
finger travelling down the lines. 
He was smoking, and whenever 
some text came home to him 
with power he would make 
pretence to underline it with 
the end of the stem. Soon I 
had finished the work I desired, 
and, my mind being full of my 
pet hobby, I fell into an inquisi- 
tive frame of mind, and began 
to question the solemn man 
opposite on the antiquities of 
the place. 

He stared stupidly at me 
when I asked him concerning 
monuments or ancient weapons. 

" I kenna," said he. " There's 
a heap o' queer things in the 
hills." 

"This place should be a 
centre for such relics. You 
know that the name of the 
hill behind the house, as far 
as I can make it out, means 
the 'Place of the Little Men.' 
It is a good Gaelic word, 
though there is some doubt 
about its exact interpretation. 



1899.] 



No-Mari s-Land. 



9 



But clearly the Gaelic peoples 
did not speak of themselves 
when they gave the name; 
they must have referred to 
some older and stranger popu- 
lation." 

The shepherd looked at me 
dully, as not understanding. 

"It is partly this fact be- 
sides the fishing, of course 
which interests me in this 
countryside," said I, gaily. 

Again he cast the same queer 
frightened glance towards the 
window. "If yell tak the 
advice of an aulder man," he 
said, slowly, " ye'll let well 
alane and no meddle wi' un- 
canny things." 

I laughed pleasantly, for at 
last I had found out my hard- 
headed host in a piece of child- 
ishness. " Why, I thought that 
you of all men would be free 
from superstition." 

"What do ye call superstee- 
tion ? " he asked. 

"A belief in old wives' tales," 
said I, "a trust in the crude 
supernatural and the patently 
impossible." 

He looked at me beneath his 
shaggy brows. "How do ye 
ken what is impossible ? Mind 
ye, sir, ye're no in the toun just 
now, but in the thick of the wild 
hills." 

"But, hang it all, man," I 
cried, " you don't mean to say 
that you believe in that sort 
of thing? I am prepared for 
many things up here, but not 
for the Brownie, though, to 
be sure, if one could meet him 
in the flesh, it would be rather 
pleasant than otherwise, for he 
was a companionable sort of 
fellow." 

" When a thing pits the fear 



o' death on a man he aye speaks 
well of it." 

It was true the Eumenides 
and the Good Folk over again ; 
and I awoke with interest to 
the fact that the conversation 
was getting into strange chan- 
nels. 

The shepherd moved uneasily 
in his chair. " I am a man that 
fears God, and has nae time 
for daft stories ; but I havena 
traivelled the hills for twenty 
years wi' my een shut. If I 
say that I could tell ye stories 
o' faces seen in the mist, and 
queer things that have knocked 
against me in the snaw, wad 
ye believe me ? I wager ye 
wadna. Ye wad say I had 
been drunk, and yet I am a 
God-fearing temperate man." 

He rose and went to a cup- 
board, unlocked it, and brought 
out something in his hand, which 
he held out to me. I took it 
with some curiosity, and found 
that it was a flint arrow-head. 

Clearly a flint arrow-head, 
and yet like none that I had 
ever seen in any collection. For 
one thing it was larger, and the 
barb less clumsily thick More, 
the chipping was new, or com- 
paratively so ; this thing had 
not stood the wear of fifteen 
hundred years among the stones 
of the hillside. Now there are, 
I regret to say, institutions 
which manufacture primitive 
relics ; but it is not hard for a 
practised eye to see the differ- 
ence. The chipping has either 
a regularity and a balance which 
is unknown in the real thing, 
or the rudeness has been over- 
done, and the result is an im- 
plement incapable of harming 
a mortal creature. But this 



10 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



was the real thing if it ever 
existed ; and yet I was pre- 
pared to swear on my reputa- 
tion that it was not half a 
century old. 

"Where did you get this?" 
I asked with some nervousness. 

"I hae a story about that," 
said the shepherd. "Outside 
the door there ye can see a 
muckle flat stane aside the 
buchts. One simmer nicht I 
was sitting there smoking till 
the dark, and I wager there 
was naething on .the stane then. 
But that same nicht I awoke 
wi' a queer thocht, as if there 
were folk moving around the 
hoose folk that didna mak' 
muckle noise. I mind o' lookin' 
out o' the windy, and I could 
hae sworn I saw something 
black movin' amang the heather 
and intil the buchts. Now I 
had maybe threescore o' lambs 
there that nicht, for I had to 
tak' them many miles off in the 
early morning. Weel, when I 
gets up about four o'clock and 
gangs out, as I am passing the 
muckle stane I finds this bit 
errow. ' That's come here in 
the nicht,' says I, and I wun- 
nered a wee and put it in my 
pouch. But when I came to 
my f aulds what did I see ? Five 
o' my best hoggs were away, 
and three mair were lying deid 
wi' a hole in their throat." 

"Who in the world ?" I 

began. 

"Dinna ask," said he. "If 
I aince sterted to speir about 
thae maitters, I wadna keep my 
reason." 

"Then that was what hap- 
pened on the hill this morning ?" 

"Even sae, and it has hap- 
pened mair than aince sin' that 



time. It's the most uncanny 
slaughter, for sheep -stealing I 
can understand, but no this 
pricking o' the puir beasts' A 
wizands. I kenna how they 
dae't either, for it's no wi' a 
knife or ony common tool." 

"Have you never tried to 
follow the thieves?" 

"Have I no?" he asked, 
grimly. "If it had been com- 
mon sheep-stealers I wad hae 
had them by the heels, though I 
had followed them a hundred 
miles. But this is no common. 
I've tracked them, and it's ill 
they are to track ; but I never 
got beyond ae place, and that 
was the Scarts o' the Muneraw 
that ye've heard me speak o'." 

" But who in Heaven's name 
are the people? Tinklers or 
poachers or what?" 

" Ay," said he, drily. " Even 
so. Tinklers and poachers whae 
wark wi' stane errows and kill 
sheep by a hole in their throat. 
Lord, I kenna what they are, 
unless the Muckle Deil himsel'." 

The conversation had passed 
beyond my comprehension. In 
this prosaic hard-headed man I 
had come on the dead -rock of 
superstition and blind fear. 

" That is only the story of the 
Brownie over again, and he is 
an exploded myth," I said, 
laughing. 

"Are ye the man that ex- 
ploded it?" said the shepherd, 
rudely. "I trow no, neither 
you nor ony ither. My bonny 
man, if ye lived a twalmonth in 
thae hills, ye wad sing safter 
about exploded myths, as ye call 
them." 

" I tell you what I would do," 
said I. "If I lost sheep as you 
lose them, I would go up the 



1899.' 



No-Man 's-Land. 



11 



Scarts of the Muneraw and 
never rest till I had settled the 
question once and for all." I 
spoke hotly, for I was vexed by 
the man's childish fear. 

" I daresay ye wad," he said, 
slowly. "But then I am no 
you, and maybe I ken mair o' 
what is in the Scarts o' the 
Muneraw. Maybe I ken that 
whilk, if ye kenned it, wad send 
ye back to the South Country 
wi' your hert in your mouth. 
But, as I say, I am no sae brave 
as you, for I saw something in 
the first year o' my herding here 
which put the terror o' God on 



me, and makes me a fearfu' man 
to this day. Ye ken the story 
o' the gudeman o' Carrickfey ? " 

I nodded. 

"Weel, I was the man that 
fand him. I had seen the deid 
afore and I've seen them since. 
But never have I seen aucht 
like the look in that man's een. 
What he saw at his death I 
may see the morn, so I walk 
before the Lord in fear." 

Then he rose and stretched 
himself. "It's bedding-time, for 
I maun be up at three," and 
with a short good night he left 
the room. 



CHAPTEE III. THE SCARTS OF THE MUNERAW. 



The next morning was fine, 
for the snow had been inter- 
mittent, and had soon melted 
except in the high corries. 
True, it was deceptive weather, 
for the wind had gone to the 
rainy south-west, and the masses 
of cloud on that horizon boded 
ill for the afternoon. But some 
days' inaction had made me 
keen for a chance of sport, so 
I rose with the shepherd and 
set out for the day. 

He asked me where I proposed 
to begin. 

I told him the tarn called the 
Loch o' the Threshes, which lies 
over the back of the Muneraw 
on another watershed. It is 
on the ground of the B-hynns 
Forest, and I had fished it of 
old from the Forest House. I 
knew the merits of the trout, 
and I knew its virtues in a 
south-west wind, so I had re- 
solved to go thus far afield. 

The shepherd heard the name 
in silence. "Your best road 



will be ower that rig, and syne 
on to the water o' Caulds. 
Keep abune the moss till ye 
come to the place they ca' the 
Nick o' the Threshes. That 
will take ye to the very loch- 
side, but it's a lang road and a 
sair." 

The morning was breaking 
over the bleak hills. Little 
clouds drifted athwart the cor- 
ries, and wisps of haze fluttered 
from the peaks. A great rosy 
flush lay over one side of the 
glen, which caught the edge of 
the sluggish bog -pools and 
turned them to fire. Never 
before had I seen the mountain- 
land so clear, for far back into the 
east and west I saw mountain- 
tops set as close as flowers in a 
border, black crags seamed with 
silver lines which I knew for 
mighty waterfalls, and below at 
my feet the lower slopes fresh 
with the dewy green of spring. 
A name stuck in my memory 
from the last night's talk. 



12 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



"Where are the Scarts of 
the Muneraw?" I asked. 

The shepherd pointed to the 
great hill which bears the name, 
and which lies, a huge mass, 
above the watershed. 

"D'ye see yon corrie at the 
east that runs straucht up the 
side? It looks a bit scart, but 
it's sae deep that it's aye derk 
at the bottom o't. Weel, at the 
tap o' the rig it meets anither 
corrie that runs doun the ither 
side, and that one they ca' the 
Scarts. There is a sort o' burn 
in it that flows intil the Dule 
and sae intil the Aller, and, 
indeed, if ye were gaun there it 
wad be from Aller Glen that 
your best road wad lie. But 
it's an ill bit, and ye'll be sair 
guidit if ye try't."' 

There he left me and went 
across the glen, while I struck 
upwards over the ridge. At 
the top I halted and looked 
down on the wide glen of the 
Caulds, which there is little 
better than a bog, but lower 
down grows into a green 
pastoral valley. The great 
Muneraw still dominated the 
landscape, and the black scaur 
on its side seemed blacker than 
before. The place fascinated 
me, for in that fresh morning 
air the shepherd's fears seemed 
monstrous. " Some day," said 
I to myself, " I will go and 
explore the whole of that mighty 
hiU." Then I descended and 
struggled over the moss, found 
the Nick, and in two hours' 
time was on the loch's edge. 

I have little in the way of 
good to report of the fishing. 
For perhaps one hour the trout 
took well; after that they 
sulked steadily for the day. 



The promise, too, of fine weather 
had been deceptive. By mid- 
day the rain was falling in that 
soft soaking fashion which 
gives no hope of clearing. The 
mist was down to the edge of 
the water, and I cast my flies 
into a blind sea of white. It 
was hopeless work, and yet 
from a sort of ill-temper I stuck 
to it long after my better judg- 
ment had warned me of its 
folly. At last, about three in 
the afternoon, I struck my 
camp, and prepared myself for 
a long and toilsome retreat. 

And long and toilsome it was 
beyond anything I had ever en- 
countered. Had I had a ves- 
tige of sense I would have fol- 
lowed the burn from the loch 
down to the Forest House. 
The place was shut up, but the 
keeper would gladly have given 
me shelter for the night. But 
foolish pride was too strong in 
me. I had found my road in 
mist before, and could do it 
again. 

Before I got to the top of 
the hill I had repented my de- 
cision ; when I got there I re- 
pented it more. For below me 
was a dizzy chaos of grey ; 
there was no landmark visible ; 
and before me I knew was the 
bog through which the Caulds 
Water twined. I had crossed 
it with some trouble in the 
morning, but then I had light 
to pick my steps. Now I could 
only stumble on, and in five 
minutes I might be in a bog- 
hole, and in five more in a 
better world. 

But there was no help to be ^ 
got from hesitation, so with a 
rueful courage I set off. The 
place was if possible worse 



1899.] 



No-Man' s-Land. 



13 



than I had feared. Wading 
up to the knees with nothing 
before you but a blank wall of 
mist and the cheerful conscious- 
ness that your next step may 
be your last such was my state 
for one weary mile. The stream 
itself was high, and rose to my 
armpits, and once and again I 
only saved myself by a violent 
leap backwards from a pitiless 
green slough. But at last it 
was past, and I was once more 
on the solid ground of the hill- 
side. 

Now, in the thick weather I 
had crossed the glen much 
lower down than in the morn- 
ing, and the result was that 
the hill on which I stood was 
one of the giants which, with 
the Muneraw for centre, guard 
the watershed. Had I taken 
the proper way, the Nick o' the 
Threshes would have led me to 
the Caulds, and then once over 
the bog a little ridge was all 
that stood between me and the 
glen of Farawa. But instead 
I had come a wild cross-coun- 
try road, and was now, though 
I did not know it, nearly as 
far from my destination as at 
the start. 

Well for me that I did not 
know, for I was wet and dispir- 
ited, and had I not fancied 
myself all but home, I should 
scarcely have had the energy 
to make this last ascent. But 
soon I found it was not the 
little ridge I had expected. I 
looked at my watch and saw 
that it was five o'clock. When, 
after the weariest climb, I lay 
on a piece of level ground 
which seemed the top, I "was 
not surprised to find that it 
was now seven. The darken- 



ing must be at hand, and sure 
enough the mist seemed to be 
deepening into a greyish black. 
I began to grow desperate. 
Here was I on the summit of 
some infernal mountain, with- 
out any certainty where my 
road lay. I was lost with a 
vengeance, and at the thought 
I began to be acutely afraid. 

I took what seemed to me the 
way I had come, and began to 
descend steeply. Then some- 
thing made me halt, and the 
next instant I was lying on my 
face trying painfully to retrace 
my steps. For I had found my- 
self slipping, and before I could 
stop, my feet were dangling 
over a precipice with Heaven 
alone knows how many yards 
of sheer mist between me and 
the bottom. Then I tried keep- 
ing the ridge, and took that to 
the right, which I thought would 
bring me nearer home. It was 
no good trying to think out a 
direction, for in the fog my 
brain was running round, and I 
seemed to stand on a pin-point 
of space where the laws of the 
compass had ceased to hold. 

It was the roughest sort of 
walking, now stepping warily 
over acres of loose stones, now 
crawling down the face of some 
battered rock, and now wading 
in the long dripping heather. 
The soft rain had begun to fall 
again, which completed my dis- 
comfort. I was now seriously 
tired, and, like all men who in 
their day have bent too much 
over books, I began to feel it in 
my back. My spine ached, and 
my breath came in short broken 
pants. It was a pitiable state 
of affairs for an honest man who 
had never encountered much 



14 



No-Man 1 s-Land. 



[Jan. 



grave discomfort. To ease my- 
self I was compelled to leave my 
basket behind me, trusting to 
return and find it, if I should 
ever reach safety and discover 
on what pathless hill I had been 
strayed. My rod I used as a 
staff, l?ut it was of little use, for 
my fingers were getting too 
numb to hold it. 

Suddenly from the blankness 
I heard a sound as of human 
speech. At first I thought it 
mere craziness the cry of a 
weasel or a hill-bird distorted 
by my ears. But again it came, 
thick and faint, as through acres 
of mist, and yet clearly the sound 
of " articulate -speaking men." 
In a moment I lost my despair 
and cried out in answer. This 
was some f orwandered traveller 
like myself, and between us we 
could surely find some road to 
safety. So I yelled back at the 
pitch of my voice and waited 
intently. 

But the sound ceased, and 
there was utter silence again. 
Still I waited, and then from 
some place much nearer came 
the same soft mumbling speech. 
I could make nothing of it. 
Heard in that drear place it made 
the nerves tense and the heart 
timorous. It was the strangest 
jumble of vowels and consonants 
I had ever met. 

A dozen solutions flashed 
through my brain. It was 
some maniac talking Jabber- 
wock to himself. It was some 
belated traveller whose wits 
had given out in fear. Perhaps 
it was only some shepherd who 
was amusing himself thus, and 
whiling the way with nonsense. 
Once again I cried out and 
waited. 



Then suddenly in the hollow 
trough of mist before me, where 
things could still be half dis- 
cerned, there appeared a figure. 
It was little and squat and 
dark ; naked, apparently, but 
so rough with hair that it wore 
the appearance of a skin-covered 
being. It crossed my line of 
vision, not staying for a moment, 
but in its face and eyes there 
seemed to lurk an elder world 
of mystery and barbarism, a 
troll - like life which was too 
horrible for words. 

The shepherd's fear came 
back on me like a thunderclap. 
For one awful instant my legs 
failed me, and I had almost 
fallen. The next I had turned 
and ran shrieking up the hill. 

If he who may read this nar- 
rative has never felt the force 
of an overmastering terror, then 
let him thank his Maker and 
pray that he never may. I am 
no weak child, but a strong 
grown man, accredited in gen- 
eral with sound sense and little 
suspected of hysterics. And 
yet I went up that brae-face 
with my heart fluttering like a 
bird and my throat aching with 
fear. I screamed in short dry 
gasps ; involuntarily, for my 
mind was beyond any purpose. 
I felt that beast -like clutch 
at my throat ; those red eyes 
seemed to be staring at me from 
the mist ; I heard ever behind 
and before and on all sides the 
patter of those inhuman feet. 

Before I knew I was down, 
slipping over a rock and falling 
some dozen feet into a soft 
marshy hollow. I was conscious 
of lying still for a second and 
whimpering like a child. But 
as I lay there I awoke to the 



1899.] 



No-Man' s-Land. 



15 



silence of the place. There was 
no sound of pursuit ; perhaps 
they had lost my track and 
given up. My courage began 
to return, and from this it was 
an easy step to hope. Perhaps 
after all it had been merely an 
illusion, for folk do not see 
clearly in the mist, and I was 
already done with weariness. 

But even as I lay in the green 
moss and began to hope, the 
faces of my pursuers grew up 
through the mist. I stumbled 
madly to my feet ; but I was 
hemmed in, the rock behind and 
my enemies before. With a cry 
I rushed forward, and struck 



wildly with my rod at the first 
dark body. It was as if I had 
struck an animal, and the next 
second the thing was wrenched 
from my grasp. But still they 
came no nearer. I stood trem- 
bling there in the centre of those 
malignant devils, my bnain a 
mere weathercock, and my heart 
crushed shapeless with horror. 
At last the end came, for with 
the vigour of madness I flung 
myself on the nearest, and we 
rolled on the ground. Then the 
monstrous things seemed to 
close over me, and with a 
choking cry I passed into un- 
consciousness. 



CHAPTER IV. THE DARKNESS THAT IS UNDER THE EARTH. 



There is an unconsciousness 
that is not wholly dead, where 
a man feels numbly and the 
body lives without the brain. I 
was beyond speech or thought, 
and yet I felt the upward or 
downward motion as the way 
lay in hill or glen, and I most 
assuredly knew when the open 
air was changed for the close 
underground. I could feel dimly 
that lights were flared in my 
face, and that I was laid in 
some bed on the earth. Then 
with the stopping of movement 
the real sleep of weakness seized 
me, and for long I knew nothing 
of this mad world. 

Morning came over the moors 
with bird-song and the glory of 
fine weather. The streams were 
still rolling in spate, but the hill- 
pastures were alight with dawn, 
and the little seams of snow 
glistened like white fire. A ray 
from the sunrise cleft its path 



somehow into the abyss, and 
danced on the wall above my 
couch. It caught my eye as 
I wakened, and for long I 
lay crazily wondering what it 
meant. My head was splitting 
with pain, and in my heart was 
the same fluttering nameless 
fear. I did not wake to full con- 
sciousness; not till the twinkle 
of sun from the clean bright 
out-of-doors caught my senses 
did I realise that I lay in a 
great dark place with a glow 
of dull firelight in the middle. 
In time things rose and 
moved around me, a few ragged 
shapes of men, without cloth- 
ing, shambling with their huge 
feet and looking towards me 
with curved beast-like glances. 
I tried to marshal my thoughts, 
and slowly, bit by bit, I built 
up the present. There was no 
question to my mind of dream- 
ing ; the past hours had scored 
reality upon my brain. Yet I 



16 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



cannot say that fear was my 
chief feeling. The first crazy 
terror had subsided, and now I 
felt mainly a sickened disgust 
with just a tinge of curiosity. 
I found that my knife, watch, 
flask, and money had gone, but 
they had left me a map of the 
countryside. It seemed strange 
to look at the calico, with the 
name of a London printer 
stamped on the back, and lines 
of railway and highroad running 
through every shire. Decent 
and comfortable civilisation ! 
And here was I a prisoner in 
this den of nameless folk, and in 
the midst of a life which history 
knew not. 

Courage is a virtue which 
grows with reflection and the 
absence of the immediate peril. 
I thought myself into some sort 
of resolution, and lo ! when 
the Folk approached me and 
bound my feet I was back 
at once in the most miserable 
terror. They tied me all but 
my hands with some strong 
cord, and carried me to the 
centre, where the fire was glow- 
ing. Their soft touch was the 
acutest torture to my nerves, but 
I stifled my cries lest some one 
should lay his hand on my 
mouth. Had that happened, I 
am convinced my reason would 
have failed me. 

So there I lay in the shine 
of the fire, with the circle of 
unknown things around me. 
There seemed but three or four, 
but I took no note of number. 
They talked huskily among 
themselves in a tongue which 
sounded all gutturals. Slowly 
my fear became less an emotion 
than a habit, and I had room 
for the smallest shade of 



curiosity. I strained my ear 
to catch a word, but it was a 
mere chaos of sound. The A. 
thing ran and thundered in 
my brain as I stared dumbly 
into the vacant air. Then I 
thought that unless I spoke I 
should certainly go crazy, for 
my head was beginning to 
swim at the strange cooing 
noise. 

I spoke a word or two in my 
best Gaelic, and they closed 
round me inquiringly. Then I 
was sorry I had spoken, for my 
words had brought them nearer, 
and I shrank at the thought. 
But as the faint echoes of my 
speech hummed in the rock- 
chamber, I was struck by a 
curious kinship of sound. Mine 
was sharper, more distinct, and 
staccato ; theirs was blurred, 
formless, but still with a certain 
root-resemblance. 

Then from the back there 
came an older being, who 
seemed to have heard my 
words. He was like some foul 
grey badger, his red eyes sight- 
less, and his hands trembling 
on a stump of bog-oak. The 
others made way for him with 
such deference as they were 
capable of, and the thing 
squatted down by me and 
spoke. 

To my amazement his words 
were familiar. It was some 
manner of speech akin to 
the Gaelic, but broadened, 
lengthened, coarsened. I re- 
membered an old book-tongue, 
commonly supposed to be an 
impure dialect once used in 
Brittany, which I had met in 
the course of my researches. 
The words recalled it, and as far 
as I could remember the thing, 



1899.] 



No-Mari s-Land. 



17 



I asked him who he was and 
where the place might be. 

He answered me in the same 
speech still more broadened, 
lengthened, coarsened. I lay 
back with sheer amazement. I 
had found the key to this un- 
earthly life. 

For a little an insatiable curi- 
osity, the ardour of the scholar, 
prevailed. I forgot the horror 
of the place, and thought only 
of the fact that here before me 
was the greatest find that 
scholarship had ever made. I 
was precipitated into the heart 
of the past. Here must be the 
fountainhead of all legends, the 
chrysalis of all beliefs. I 
actually grew light - hearted. 
This strange folk around me 
were now no more shapeless 
things of terror, but objects of 
research and experiment. I 
almost came to think them not 
unfriendly. 

For an hour I enjoyed the 
highest of earthly pleasures. 
In that strange conversation I 
heard in fragments and sug- 
gestions the history of the 
craziest survival the world has 
ever seen. I heard of the 
struggles with invaders, pre- 
served as it were in a sort of 
shapeless poetry. There were 
bitter words against the Gaelic 
oppressor, bitterer words against 
the Saxon stranger, and for a 
moment ancient hatreds flared 
into life. Then there came the 
tale of the hill-refuge, the mor- 
bid hideous existence preserved 
for centuries amid a changing 
world. I heard fragments of 
old religions, primeval names 
of god and goddess, half -under- 
stood by the Folk, but to me the 
key to a hundred puzzles. Tales 

VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



which survive to us in broken 
disjointed riddles were intact 
here in living form. I lay on 
my elbow and questioned fever- 
ishly. At any moment they 
might become morose and re- 
fuse to speak. Clearly it was 
my duty to make the most of 
a brief good fortune. 

And then the tale they told 
me grew more hideous. I 
heard of the circumstances of 
the life itself and their daily 
shifts for existence. It was a 
murderous chronicle a history 
of lust and rapine and unmen- 
tionable deeds in the darkness. 
One thing they had early recog- 
nised that the race could not 
be maintained within itself ; so 
that ghoulish carrying away of 
little girls from the lowlands 
began, which I had heard of 
but never credited. Shut up 
in those dismal holes, the girls 
soon died, and when the new 
race had grown up the plunder 
had been repeated. Then there 
were bestial murders in lonely 
cottages, done for God knows 
what purpose. Sometimes the 
occupant had seen more than 
was safe, sometimes the deed 
was the mere exuberance of 
a lust of slaying. As they 
gabbled their tales my heart's 
blood froze, and I lay back in 
the agonies of fear. If they 
had used the others thus, what 
way of escape was open for my- 
self? I had been brought to 
this place, and not murdered 
on the spot. Clearly there was 
torture before death in store 
for me, and I confess I quailed 
at the thought. 

But none molested me. The 
elders continued to jabber out 
their stories, while I lay tense 



18 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



and deaf. Then to my amaze- 
ment food was brought and 
placed beside me almost with 
respect. Clearly my murder 
was not a thing of the im- 
mediate future. The meal 
was some form of mutton 
perhaps the shepherd's lost 
ewes and a little smoking 
was all the cooking it had 
got. I strove to eat, but the 
tasteless morsels choked me. 
Then they set drink before me 
in a curious cup, which I seized 
on eagerly, for my mouth was 
dry with thirst. The vessel 
was of gold, rudely formed, 
but of the pure metal, and a 
coarse design in circles ran 
round the middle. This sur- 
prised me enough, but a greater 
wonder awaited me. The liquor 
was not water, as I had guessed, 
but a sort of sweet ale, a miracle 
of flavour. The taste was curi- 
ous, but somehow familiar; it 
was like no wine I had ever 
drunk, and yet I had known 
that flavour all my life. I 
sniffed at the brim, and there 
rose a faint fragrance of thyme 
and heather honey and the 
sweet things of the moorland. 
I almost dropped the thing in 
my surprise ; for here in this 
rude place I had stumbled 
upon that lost delicacy of the 
North, the heather ale. 

For a second I was entranced 
with my discovery, and then 
the wonder of the cup claimed 
my attention. Was it a mere 
relic of pillage, or had this folk 
some hidden mine of the precious 
metal? Gold had once been 
common in these hills. There 
were the traces of mines on 
Cairnsmore ; shepherds had 
found it in the gravel of the 



Gled Water; and the name of a 
house at the head of the Clach- 
lands meant the " Home of 
Gold." 

Once more I began my ques- 
tions, and they answered them 
willingly. There and then I 
heard that secret for which 
many had died in old time, 
the secret of the heather ale. 
They told of the gold in the 
hills, of corries where the sand 
gleamed and abysses where the 
rocks were veined. All this 
they told me, freely, without a 
scruple. And then, like a clap, 
came the awful thought that 
this, too, spelled death. These 
were secrets which this race 
aforetime had guarded with 
their lives ; they told them 
generously to me because there 
was no fear of betrayal. I 
should go no more out from 
this place. 

The thought put me into a 
new sweat of terror not at 
death, mind you, but at the 
unknown horrors which might 
precede the final suffering. I 
lay silent, and after binding 
my hands they began to leave 
me and go off to other parts 
of the cave. I dozed in the 
horrible half - swoon of fear, 
conscious only of my shaking 
limbs, and the great dull glow 
of the fire in the centre. Then 
I became calmer. After all, 
they had treated me with toler- 
able kindness : I had spoken 
their language, which few of 
their victims could have done 
for many a century; it might 
be that I had found favour in 
their eyes. For a little I com- 
forted myself with this delusion, 
till I caught sight of a wooden 
box in a corner. It was of 



No-Man' s-Land. 



1899.] 

modern make, one such as gro- 
cers use to pack provisions in. 
It had some address nailed on 
it, and an aimless curiosity com- 
pelled me to creep thither and 
read it. A torn and weather- 
stained scrap of paper, with the 
nails at the corner rusty with 
age ; but something of the ad- 
dress might still be made out. 
Amid the stains my feverish 

eyes read, " To Mr M , Car- 

rickfey, by Allerfoot Station." 

The ruined cottage in the hol- 
low of the waste with the single 
gnarled apple-tree was before 
me in a twinkling. I remem- 
bered the shepherd's shrinking 
from the place and the name, 
and his wild eyes when he told 
me of the thing that had hap- 
pened there. I seemed to see 
the old man in his moorland 
cottage, thinking no evil; the 
sudden entry of the nameless 
things ; and then the eyes glazed 
in unspeakable terror. I felt 
my lips dry and burning. Above 
me was the vault of rock; in 
the distance I saw the fire-glow 
and the shadows of shapes mov- 
ing around it. My fright was 
too great for inaction, so I crept 
from the couch, and silently, 
stealthily, with tottering steps 
and bursting heart, I began to 
reconnoitre. 

But I was still bound, my 
arms tightly, my legs more 
loosely, but yet firm enough to 
hinder flight. I could not get 
my hands at my leg -straps, 
still less could I undo the 
manacles. I rolled on the floor, 
seeking some sharp edge of 
rock, but all had been worn 
smooth by the use of centuries. 
Then suddenly an idea came 
upon me like an inspiration. 



19 



The sounds from the fire seemed 
to have ceased, and I could 
hear them repeated from an- 
other and more distant part of 
the cave. The Folk had left 
their orgy round the blaze, and 
at the end of the long tunnel I 
saw its glow fall unimpeded 
upon the floor. Once there, I 
might burn off my fetters and 
be free to turn my thoughts to 
escape. 

I crawled a little way with 
much labour. Then suddenly I 
came abreast an opening in the 
wall, through which a path 
went. It was a long straight 
rock-cutting, and at the end I 
saw a gleam of pale light. It 
must be the open air ; the way 
of escape was prepared for me ; 
and with a prayer I made what 
speed I could towards the fire. 

I rolled on the verge, but the 
fuel was peat, and the warm 
ashes would not burn the cords. 
In desperation I went farther, 
and my clothes began to singe, 
while my face ached beyond 
endurance. But yet I got no 
nearer my object. The strips of 
hide warped and cracked, but did 
not burn. Then in a last effort 
I thrust my wrists bodily into 
the glow and held them there. 
In an instant I drew them out 
with a groan of pain, scarred 
and sore, but to my joy with 
the band snapped in one place. 
Weak as I was, it was now 
easy to free myself, and then 
came the untying of my legs. 
My hands trembled, my eyes 
were dazed with hurry, and I 
was longer over the job than 
need have been. But at length 
I had loosed my cramped knees 
and stood on my feet, a free 
man once more. 



20 



No-Man' 's-Land. 



[Jan. 



I kicked off my boots, and 
fled noiselessly down the pas- 
sage to the tunnel mouth. Ap- 
parently it was close on even- 
ing, for the white light had 
faded to a pale yellow. But it 
was daylight, and that was all 
I sought, and I ran for it as 
eagerly as ever runner ran to a 
goal. I came out on a rock- 
shelf, beneath which a moraine 
of boulders fell away in a chasm 
to a dark loch. It was all but 
night, but I could see the 
gnarled and fortressed rocks 
rise in ramparts above, and 
below the unknown screes and 
cliffs which make the side of the 
Muneraw a place only for foxes 
and the fowls of the air. 

The first taste of liberty is 
an intoxication, and assuredly I 
was mad when I leaped down 
among the boulders. Happily 
at the top of the gully the 
stones were large and stable, 
else the noise would certainly 
have discovered me. Down I 
went, slipping, praying, my 
charred wrists aching, and my 
stockinged feet wet with blood. 
Soon I was in the jaws of the 
cleft, and a pale star rose before 
me. I have always been timid 
in the face of great rocks, and 
now, had not an awful terror 
been dogging my footsteps, no 
power on earth could have 
driven me to that descent. 
Soon I left the boulders behind, 
and came to long spouts of 
little stones, which moved with 
me till the hillside seemed 
sinking under my feet. Some- 
times I was face downwards, 
once and again I must have 
fallen for yards. Had there 
been a cliff at the foot, I should 
have gone over it without re- 



sistance ; but by the providence 
of God the spout ended in a 
long curve into the heather of 
the bog. 

When I found my feet once 
more on soft boggy earth, my 
strength was renewed within 
me. A great hope of escape 
sprang up in my heart. For a 
second I looked back. There 
was a great line of shingle with 
the cliffs beyond, and above all 
the unknown blackness of the 
cleft. There lay my terror, and 
I set off running across the bog 
for dear life. My mind was 
clear enough to know my road. 
If I held round the loch in front 
I should come to a burn which 
fed the Farawa stream, on 
whose banks stood the shep- 
herd's cottage. The loch could 
not be far ; once at the Farawa 
I would have the light of the 
shieling clear before me. 

Suddenly I heard behind me, 
as if coming from the hillside, 
the patter of feet. It was the 
sound which white hares make 
in the winter -time on a noise- 
less frosty day as they patter 
over the snow. I have heard 
the same soft noise from a herd 
of deer when they changed 
their pastures. Strange that 
so kindly a sound should put 
the very fear of death in my 
heart. I ran madly, blindly, 
yet thinking shrewdly. The 
loch was before me. Some- 
where I had read or heard, I 
do not know where, that the 
brutish aboriginal races of the 
North could not swim. I my- 
self swam powerfully ; could 
I but cross the loch I should /, 
save two miles of a desperate 
country. 

There was no time to lose, for 



1899.] 



No-Man' s-Land. 



21 



the patter was coining nearer, 
and I was almost at the loch's 
edge. I tore off my coat and 
rushed in. The bottom was 
mossy, and I had to struggle 
far before I found any depth. 
Something plashed in the water 
before me, and then something 
else a little behind. The thought 
that I was a mark for unknown 
missiles made me crazy with 
fright, and I struck fiercely out 
for the other shore. A gleam 
of moonlight was on the water 
at the burn's exit, and thither 
I guided myself. I found the 
thing difficult enough in itself, 
for my hands ached, and I was 
numb with my bonds. But my 
fancy raised a thousand phan- 
toms to vex me. Swimming in 
that black bog water, pursued 
by those nameless things, I 
seemed to be in a world of 
horror far removed from the 
kindly world of men. My 
strength seemed inexhaustible 
from my terror. Monsters at 
the bottom of the water seemed 
to bite at my feet, and the pain 
of my wrists made me believe 
that the loch was boiling hot, 
and that I was in some hellish 
place of torment. 

I came out on a spit of gravel 
above the burn mouth, and set 
off down the ravine of the burn. 
It was a strait place, strewn 
with rocks; but now and then 
the hill turf came in stretches, 
and eased my wounded feet. 
Soon the fall became more 
abrupt, and I was slipping down 
a hillside, with the water on 
my left making great cascades 
in the granite. And then I was 
out in the wider vale where the 
Farawa water flowed among 
links of moss. 



Far in front, a speck in the 
blue darkness, shone the light of 
the cottage. I panted forward, 
my breath coming in gasps and 
my back shot with fiery pains. 
Happily the land was easier for 
the feet as long as I kept on the 
skirts of the bog. My ears were 
sharp as a wild beast's with fear, 
as I listened for the noise of 
pursuit. Nothing came but the 
rustle of the gentlest hill-wind 
and the chatter of the falling 
streams. 

Then suddenly the light began 
to waver and move athwart the 
window. I knew what it meant. 
In a minute or two the house- 
hold at the cottage would retire 
to rest, and the lamp would be 
put out. True, I might find the 
place in the dark, for there was 
a moon of sorts and the road 
was not desperate. But some- 
how in that hour the lamplight 
gave a promise of safety which 
I clung to despairingly. 

And then the last straw was 
added to my misery. Behind 
me came the pad of feet, the 
pat-patter, soft, eerie, incredibly 
swift. I choked with fear, and 
flung myself forward in a last 
effort. I give my word it was 
sheer mechanical shrinking that 
drove me on. God knows I 
would have lain down to die in 
the heather, had the things 
behind me been a common 
terror of life. 

I ran as man never ran be- 
fore, leaping hags, scrambling 
through green well - heads, 
straining towards the fast-dying 
light. A quarter of a mile 
and the patter sounded nearer. 
Soon I was not two hundred 
yards off, and the noise seemed 
almost at my elbow. The light 



22 



No-Mari s-Land. 



[Jan. 



\vent out, and the black mass of 
the cottage loomed in the dark. 
Then, before I knew, I was 
at the door, battering it wearily 
and yelling for help. I heard 
steps within and a hand on the 
bolt. Then something shot past 



me with lightning force and 
buried itself in the wood. The 
dreadful hands were almost at 
my throat, when the door was 
opened and I stumbled in, hear- 
ing with a gulp of joy the key 
turn and the bar fall behind me. 



CHAPTER V. THE TROUBLES OF A CONSCIENCE. 



My body and senses slept, for 
I was utterly tired, but my 
brain all the night was on fire 
with horrid fancies. Again I 
was in that accursed cave; I 
was torturing my hands in the 
fire ; I was slipping barefoot 
among jagged boulders ; and 
then with bursting heart I was 
toiling the last mile with the 
cottage light now grown to a 
great fire in the heavens blaz- 
ing before me. 

It was broad daylight when I 
awoke, and I thanked God for 
the comfortable rays of the sun. 
I had been laid in a box-bed off 
the inner room, and my first 
sight was the shepherd sitting 
with folded arms in a chair re- 
garding me solemnly. I rose 
and began to dress, feeling my 
legs and arms still tremble with 
weariness. The shepherd's sis- 
ter bound up my scarred wrists 
and put an ointment on my 
burns ; and, limping like an old 
man, I went into the kitchen. 

I could eat little breakfast, 
for my throat seemed dry and 
narrow ; but they gave me some 
brandy - and - milk, which put 
strength into my body. All the 
time the brother and sister sat 
in silence, regarding me with 
covert glances. 

" Ye have been delivered from 
the jaws o' the Pit," said the 
man at length. "See that," 



and he held out to me a thin 
shaft of flint. " I fand that in 
the door this morning." 

I took it, let it drop, and 
stared vacantly at the window. 
My, nerves had been too much 
tried to be roused by any new 
terror. Out of doors it was fair 
weather, flying gleams of April 
sunlight and the soft colours of 
spring. I felt dazed, isolated, 
cut off from my easy past and 
pleasing future, a companion of 
horrors and the sport of name- 
less things. Then suddenly my 
eye fell on my books heaped on 
a table, and the old distant 
civilisation seemed for the mo- 
ment inexpressibly dear. 

"I must go at once. And 
you must come too. You can- 
not stay here. I tell you it is 
death. If you knew what I 
know you would be crying out 
with fear. How far is it to 
Allermuir ? Eight, fifteen miles ; 
and then ten down Glen Aller 
to Allerfoot, and then the rail- 
way. We must go together 
while it is daylight, and perhaps 
we may be untouched. But 
quick, there is not a moment to 
lose." And I was on my shaky 
feet, and bustling among my 
possessions. 

"I'll gang wi' ye to the sta- 
tion," said the shepherd, "for 
ye're clearly no fit to look after 
yourself. My sister will bide 



1899.] 



No-Mari s-Land. 



23 



and keep the house. If nae- 
thing has touched us this ten 
year, naething will touch us the 
day." 

" But you cannot stay. You 
are mad," I began ; but he cut 
me short with the words, "I 
trust in God." 

"In any case let your sister 
come with us. I dare not think 
of a woman alone in this place." 

"I'll bide," said she. "I'm 
no feared as lang as I'm in- 
doors and there's steeks on the 
windies." 

So I packed my few belong- 
ings as best I could, tumbled my 
books into a haversack, and, 
gripping the shepherd's arm 
nervously, crossed the threshold. 
The glen was full of sunlight. 
There lay the long shining links 
of the Farawa burn, the rough 
hills tumbled beyond, and far 
over all the scarred and distant 
forehead of the Muneraw. I 
had always looked on moorland 
country as the freshest on earth 
clean, wholesome, and homely. 
But now the fresh uplands 
seemed like a horrible pit. 
When I looked to the hills my 
breath choked in my throat, 
and the feel of soft heather 
below my feet set my heart 
trembling. 

It was a slow journey to the 
inn at Allermuir. For one 
thing, no power on earth would 
draw me within sight of the 
shieling of Carrickfey, so we 
had to cross a shoulder of hill 
and make our way down a 
difficult glen, and then over a 
treacherous moss. The lochs 
were now gleaming like fretted 
silver ; but to me, in my dread- 
ful knowledge, they seemed 
more eerie than on that grey 
day when I came. At last my 



eyes were cheered by the sight 
of a meadow and a fence ; then 
we were on a little byroad ; and 
soon the fir -woods and corn- 
lands of Allercleuch were plain 
before us. 

The shepherd came no far- 
ther, but with brief good-bye 
turned his solemn face hill- 
wards. I hired a trap and a 
man to drive, and down the ten 
miles of Glen Aller I struggled 
to keep my thoughts from the 
past. I thought of the kindly 
South Country, of Oxford, of 
anything comfortable and civil- 
ised. My driver pointed out 
the objects of interest as in duty 
bound, but his words fell on un- 
heeding ears. At last he said 
something which roused me 
indeed to interest the interest 
of the man who hears the word 
he fears most in the world. On 
the left side of the river there 
suddenly sprang into view a 
long gloomy cleft in the hills, 
with a vista of dark mountains 
behind, down which a stream 
of considerable size poured its 
waters. 

"That is the Water o' Dule," 
said the man in a reverent 
voice. "A graund water to 
fish, but dangerous to life, for 
it's a' linns. Awa' at the heid 
they say there's a terrible wild 
place called the S carts o' Mune- 
raw, that's a shouther o' 
the muckle hill itsel' that ye 
see, but I've never been 
there, and I never kent ony 
man that had either." 

At the station, which is a 
mile from the village of Aller- 
foot, I found I had some hours 
to wait on my train for the 
south. I dared not trust 
myself for one moment alone, 
so I hung about the goods-shed, 



24 



No-Marfs-Land. 



[Jan. 



talked vacantly to the porters, 
and when one went to the 
village for tea I accompanied 
him, and to his wonder enter- 
tained him at the inn. When 
I returned I found on the plat- 
form a stray bagman who was 
that evening going to London. 
If there is one class of men in 
the world which I heartily de- 
test it is this ; but such was my 
state that I hailed him as a 
brother, and besought his com- 
pany. I paid the difference for 
a first-class fare, and had him 
in the carriage with me. He 
must have thought me an 
amiable maniac, for I talked in 
fits and starts, and when he 
fell asleep I would wake him 
up and beseech him to speak 
to me. At wayside stations I 
would pull down the blinds in 
case of recognition, for to my 
unquiet mind the world seemed 
full of spies sent by that terrible 
Folk of the Hills. When the 
train crossed a stretch of moor 
I would lie down on the seat in 
case of shafts fired from the 
heather. And then at last 
with utter weariness I fell 
asleep, and woke screaming 
about midnight to find myself 
well down in the cheerful Eng- 
lish midlands, and red blast- 
furnaces blinking by the rail- 
way-side. 

In the morning I breakfasted 
in my rooms at St Chad's with 
a dawning sense of safety. I 
was in a different and calmer 
world. The lawn -like quad- 
rangles, the great trees, the 
cawing of rooks, and the homely 
twitter of sparrows all seemed 
decent and settled and pleasing. 
Indoors the oak-panelled walls, 
the shelves of books, the pic- 
tures, the faint fragrance of 



tobacco, were very different from 
the gimcrack adornments and 
the accursed smell of peat and 
heather in that deplorable cot- 
tage. It was still vacation- 
time, so most of my friends 
were down ; but I spent the 
day hunting out the few cheer- 
ful pedants to whom term and 
vacation were the same. It 
delighted me to hear again 
their precise talk, to hear them 
make a boast of their work, and 
narrate the childish little acci- 
dents of their life. I yearned 
for the childish once more ; I 
craved for women's drawing- 
rooms, and women's chatter, 
and everything which makes 
life an elegant game. God 
knows I had had enough of the 
other thing for a lifetime ! 

That night I shut myself in 
my rooms, barred my windows, 
drew my curtains, and made a 
great destruction. All books 
or pictures which recalled to 
me the moorlands were ruth- 
lessly doomed. Novels, poems, 
treatises I flung into an old box, 
for sale to the second - hand 
bookseller. Some prints and 
water-colour sketches I tore to 
pieces with my own hands. I 
ransacked my fishing-book, and 
condemned all tackle for moor- 
land waters to the flames. I 
wrote a letter to my solicitors, 
bidding them go no further in 
the purchase of a place in Lome 
I had long been thinking of. 
Then, and not till then, did I 
feel the bondage of the past a 
little loosed from my shoulders. 
I made myself a night-cap of 
rum-punch instead of my usual 
whisky-toddy, that all associa- 
tions with that dismal land 
might be forgotten, and to com- 
plete the renunciation I returned 



1899." 



No-Man' s-Land. 



25 



to cigars and flung my pipe into 
a drawer. 

, But when I woke in the 
morning I found that it is hard 
to get rid of memories. My feet 
were still sore and wounded, and 
when I felt my arms cramped 
and reflected on the causes, there 
was that black memory always 
near to vex me. 

In a little term began, and 
my duties as deputy-professor 
of Northern Antiquities were 
once more clamorous. I can 
well believe that my hearers 
found my lectures strange, for 
instead of dealing with my 
favourite subjects and matters, 
which I might modestly say I 
had made my own, I confined 
myself to recondite and distant 
themes, treating even these cur- 
sorily and dully. For the truth 
is, my heart was no more in my 
subject. I hated or I thought 
that I hated all things North- 
ern with the virulence of utter 
fear. My reading was confined 
to science of the most recent 
kind, to abstruse philosophy, 
and to foreign classics. Any- 
thing which savoured of ro- 
mance or mystery was abhor- 
rent ; I pined for sharp outlines 
and the tangibility of a high 
civilisation. 

All the term I threw myself 
into the most frivolous life of 
the place. My Harrow school- 
days seemed to have come back 
to me. I had once been a fair 
cricketer, so I played again for 
my college, and made decent 
scores. I coached an indifferent 
crew on the river. I fell into 
*> the slang of the place, which I 
had hitherto detested. My 
former friends looked on me 
askance, as if some freakish 
changeling had possessed me. 



Formerly I had been ready for 
pedantic discussion, I had been 
absorbed in my work, men had 
spoken of me as a rising scholar. 
Now I fled the very mention of 
things I had once delighted in. 
The Professor of Northern An- 
tiquities, a scholar of European 
reputation, meeting me once in 
the parks, embarked on an ac- 
count of certain novel rings re- 
cently found in Scotland, and 
to his horror found that, when 
he had got well under weigh, I 
had slipped off unnoticed. I 
heard afterwards that the good 
old man was found by a friend 
walking disconsolately with 
bowed head in the middle of 
the High Street. Being res- 
cued from among the horses' 
feet, he could only murmur, " I 
am thinking of Graves, poor 
man ! And a year ago he was 
as sane as I am ! " 

But a man may not long de- 
ceive himself. I kept up the 
illusion valiantly for the term ; 
but I felt instinctively that 
the fresh schoolboy life, which 
seemed to me the extreme oppo- 
site to the ghoulish North, and 
as such the most desirable of 
things, was eternally cut off 
from me. No cunning affecta- 
tion could ever dispel my real 
nature or efface the memory of 
a week. I realised miserably 
that sooner or later I must fight 
it out with my conscience. I 
began to call myself a coward. 
The chief thoughts of my mind 
began to centre themselves more 
and more round that unknown 
life waiting to be explored 
among the unfathomable wilds. 

One day I met a friend an 
official in the British Museum 
who was full of some new theory 



26 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



about primitive habitations. To 
me it seemed inconceivably ab- 
surd ; but he was strong in his 
confidence, and without flaw in 
his evidence. The man irritated 
me, and I burned to prove him 
wrong, but I could think of no 
argument which was final 
against his. Then it flashed 
upon me that my own experi- 
ence held the disproof ; and 
without more words I left him, 
hot, angry with myself, and 
tantalised by the unattainable. 

I might relate my bona-fide 
experience, but would men be- 
lieve me ? I must bring proofs, 
I must complete my researches, 
so as to make them incapable of 
disbelief. And there in those 
deserts was waiting the key. 
There lay the greatest discovery 
of the century nay, of the mil- 
lennium. There, too, lay the 
road to wealth such as I had 
never dreamed of. Could I suc- 
ceed, I should be famous for 
ever. I would revolutionise 
history and anthropology ; I 
would systematise folk-lore; I 
would show the world of men 
the pit whence they were digged 
and the rock whence they were 
hewn. 

And then began a game of 



battledore between myself and 
my conscience. 

" You are a coward," said my 
conscience. 

"I am sufficiently brave," I 
would answer. "I have seen 
things and yet lived. The terror 
is more than mortal, and I can- 
not face it." 

" You are a coward," said my 
conscience. 

" I am not bound to go there 
again. It would be purely for 
my own aggrandisement if I 
went, and not for any matter of 
duty." 

" Nevertheless you are a cow- 
ard," said my conscience. 

" In any case the matter can 
wait." 

"You are a coward." 

Then came one awful mid- 
summer night, when I lay sleep- 
less and fought the thing out 
with myself. I knew that the 
strife was hopeless, that I should 
have no peace in this world 
again unless I made the attempt. 
The dawn was breaking when I 
came to the final resolution ; and 
when I rose and looked at my 
face in a mirror, lo ! it was 
white and lined and drawn like 
a man of sixty. 



CHAPTER VI. SUMMER ON THE MOORS. 



The next morning I packed a 
bag with some changes of cloth- 
ing and a collection of notebooks, 
and went up to town. The first 
thing I did was to pay a visit 
to my solicitors. " I am about 
to travel," said I, "and I wish 
to have all things settled in case 
any accident should happen to 
me." So I arranged for the dis- 
posal of my property in case of 



death, and added a codicil which 
puzzled the lawyers. If I did 
not return within six months, 
communications were to be 
entered into with the shepherd 
at the shieling of Farawa post- 
town Allerfoot. If he could < 
produce any papers, they were 
to be put into the hands of cer- 
tain friends, published, and the 
cost charged to my estate. From 



1899.] 



No-Man 's-Land. 



27 



my solicitors I went to a gun- 
maker's in Regent Street and 

^ bought an ordinary six-cham- 
" bered revolver, feeling much as 
a man must feel who proposed 
to cross the Atlantic in a skiff 
and purchased a small life-belt 
as a precaution. 

I took the night express to 
the North, and, for a marvel, I 
slept. When I woke about four 
we were on the verge of West- 
moreland, and stony hills blocked 
the horizon. At first I hailed 
the mountain-land gladly ; sleep 
for the moment had caused for- 
getfulness of my terrors. But 
soon a turn of the line brought 
me in full view of a heathery 
moor, running far to a confusion 
of distant peaks. I remembered 
my mission and my fate, and if 
ever condemned criminal felt a 
more bitter regret I pity his 
case. Why should I alone 
among the millions of this happy 
isle be singled out as the reposi- 
tory of a ghastly secret, and be 
cursed by a conscience which 
would not let it rest? 

I came to Allerfoot early in 
the forenoon, and got a trap to 
drive me up the valley. It was 
a lowering grey day, hot and 
yet sunless. A sort of heat- 
haze cloaked the hills, and 
every now and then a smurr 
of rain would meet us on the 
road, and in a minute be over. 
I felt wretchedly dispirited ; 
and when at last the white- 
washed kirk of Allermuir came 
into sight and the broken-backed 
bridge of Aller, man's eyes 
seemed to have looked on no 

*j drearier scene since time began. 
I ate what meal I could get, 
for, fears or no, I was vora- 
ciously hungry. Then I asked 
the landlord to find me some 



man who would show me the 
road to Farawa. I demanded 
company, not for protection 
for what could two men do 
against such brutish strength? 
but to keep my mind from its 
own thoughts. 

The man looked at me anxi- 
ously. 

"Are ye acquaint wi' the folks, 
then?" he asked. 

I said I was, that I had often 
stayed in the cottage. 

" Ye ken that they've a name 
for being queer. The man never 
comes here f orbye once or twice 
a-year, and he has few dealings 
wi' other herds. He's got an 
ill name, too, for losing sheep. 
I dinna like the country ava. 
Up by yon Muneraw no that 
I've ever been there, but I've 
seen it afar off is enough to 
put a man daft for the rest o' 
his days. What's taking ye 
thereaways? It's no the time 
for the fishing?" 

I told him that I was a bot- 
anist going to explore certain 
hill-crevices for rare ferns. He 
shook his head, and then after 
some delay found me an ostler 
who would accompany me to 
the cottage. 

The man was a shock-headed, 
long -limbed fellow, with fierce 
red hair and a humorous eye. 
He talked sociably about his 
life, answered my hasty ques- 
tions with deftness, and beguiled 
me for the moment out of my- 
self. I passed the melancholy 
lochs, and came in sight of the 
great stony hills without the tre- 
pidation I had expected. Here 
at my side was one who found 
some humour even in those up- 
lands. But one thing I noted 
which brought back the old 
uneasiness. He took the road 



28 



No-Man s-Land, 



[Jan. 



which led us farthest from Car- 
rickfey, and when to try him I 
proposed the other, he vetoed it 
with emphasis. 

After this his good spirits 
departed, and he grew dis- 
trustful. 

" What mak's ye a freend o' 
the herd at Farawa?" he de- 
manded a dozen times. 

Finally, I asked him if he 
knew the man, and had seen 
him lately. 

" I dinna ken him, and I 
hadna seen him for years till 
a fortnicht syne, when a' Aller- 
muir saw him. He cam doun 
one afternoon to the public - 
hoose, and begood to drink. 
He had aye been kenned for a 
terrible godly kind o' a man, so 
ye may believe folk wondered 
at this. But when he had stuck 
to the drink for twae days, and 
filled himsel' blind -fou half-a- 
dozen o' times, he took a fit 
o' repentance, and raved and 
blethered about siccan a life as 
he led in the muirs. There was 
some said he was speakin' seri- 
ous, but maist thocht it was 
juist daftness." 

"And what did he speak 
about?" I asked sharply. 

"I canna verra weel tell ye. 
It was about some kind o' 
bogle that lived in the Mune- 
raw that's the shouthers o't ye 
see yonder and it seems that 
the bogle killed his sheep and 
frichted himsel'. He was aye 
bletherin', too, about something 
or somebody ca'd Grave ; but 
oh ! the man wasna wise." And 
my companion shook a con- 
temptuous head. 

And then below us in the 
valley we saw the shieling, with 
a thin shaft of smoke rising 
into the rainy grey weather. 



The man left me, sturdily re- 
fusing any fee. "I wantit my 
legs stretched as weel as you. 
A walk in the hills is neither 
here nor there to a stoot man. 
When will ye be back, sir ? " 

The question was well-timed. 
"To-morrow fortnight," I said, 
"and I want somebody from 
Allermuir to come out here in 
the morning and carry some 
baggage. Will you see to 
that?" 

He said "Ay," and went off, 
while I scrambled down the hill 
to the cottage. Nervousness 
possessed me, and though it 
was broad daylight and the 
whole place lay plain before me, 
I ran pell-mell, and did not stop 
till I reached the door. 

The place was utterly empty. 
Unmade beds, unwashed dishes, 
a hearth strewn with the ashes 
of peat, and dust thick on every- 
thing, proclaimed the absence of 
inmates. I began to be horribly 
frightened. Had the shepherd 
and his sister, also, disappeared ? 
Was I left alone in the bleak 
place, with a dozen lonely miles 
between me and human dwell- 
ings ? I could not return 
alone ; better this horrible place 
than the unknown perils of the 
out-of-doors. Hastily I barri- 
caded the door, and to the best 
of my power shuttered the 
windows ; and then with dreary 
forebodings I sat down to wait 
on fortune. 

In a little I heard a long 
swinging step outside and the 
sound of dogs. Joyfully I 
opened the latch, and there was 
the shepherd's grim face wait- 
ing stolidly on what might 
appear. 

At the sight of me he 
stepped back. "What in the 



1899.] 



No-Man 1 s-Land. 



29 



Lord's name are ye daein' here?" 
he asked. " Didna ye get enough 
afore?" 

"Come in," I said, sharply. 
"I want to talk." 

In he came with those blessed 
dogs, what a comfort it was 
to look on their great honest 
faces ! He sat down on the 
untidy bed and waited. 

"I came because I could not 
stay away. I saw too much to 
give me any peace elsewhere. 
I must go back, even though I 
risk my life for it. The cause 
of scholarship demands it as 
well as the cause of humanity." 

" Is that a' the news ye hae ? " 
he said. "Weel, I've mair to 
tell ye. Three weeks syne my 
sister Margit was lost, and I've 
never seen her mair." 

My jaw fell, and I could only 
stare at him. 

" I cam hame from the hill at 
nightfa' and she was gone. I 
lookit for her up hill and doun, 
but I couldna find her. Syne 
I think I went daft. I went to 
the S carts and huntit them up 
and doun, but no sign could I 
see. The folk can bide quiet 
enough when they want. Syne 
I went to Allermuir and drank 
mysel' blind, me, that's a God- 
fearing man and a saved soul ; 
but the Lord help me, I didna 
ken what I was at. That's my 
news, and day and nicht I 
wander thae hills, seekin' for 
what I canna find." 

"But, man, are you mad?" 
I cried. " Surely there are 
neighbours to help you. There 
is a law in the land, and you 
had only to find the nearest 
police-office and compel them to 
assist you." 

" What guid can man dae ? " 
he asked. " An army o' sodgers 



couldna find that hidy-hole. 
Forby, when I went into Aller- 
muir wi' my story the folk 
thocht me daft. It was that 
set me drinking, for the Lord 
forgive me ! I wasna my ain 
maister. I threepit till I was 
hairse, but the bodies just 
lauch'd." And he lay back on 
the bed like a man mortally 
tired. 

Grim though the tidings were, 
I can only say that my chief 
feeling was of comfort. Pity 
for the new tragedy had swal- 
lowed up my fear. I had now 
a purpose, and a purpose, too, 
not of curiosity but of mercy. 

"I go to-morrow morning to 
the Muneraw. But first I want 
to give you something to do." 
And I drew roughly a chart of 
the place on the back of a letter. 
" Go into Allermuir to-morrow, 
and give this paper to the land- 
lord at the inn. The letter will 
tell him what to do. He is to 
raise at once all the men he can 
get, and come to the place on 
the chart marked with a cross. 
Tell him life depends on his 
hurry." 

The shepherd nodded. " D'ye 
ken the Folk are watching for 
you? They let me pass with- 
out trouble, for they've nae use 
for me, but I see fine they're 
seeking you. Ye'll no gang 
half a mile the morn afore they 
grip ye." 

"So much the better," I 
said. " That will take me 
quicker to the place I want to 
be at." 

"And I'm to gang to Aller- 
muir the morn," he repeated, 
with the air of a child conning 
a lesson. " But what if they'll 
no believe me ? " 

"They'll believe the letter." 



30 



JVo-Man's-Land. 



[Jan. 



"Maybe," he said, and re- 
lapsed into a doze. 

I set myself to put that house 
in order, to rouse the fire, and 
prepare some food. It was dis- 



mal work ; and meantime out- 
side the night darkened, and a 
great wind rose, which howled , 
round the walls and lashed the " 
rain on the windows. 



CHAPTER VII. IN TUAS MANUS, DOMINE ! 



I had not gone twenty yards 
from the cottage door ere I 
knew I was watched. I had 
left the shepherd still dozing, in 
the half - conscious state of a 
dazed and broken man. All 
night the wind had wakened 
me at intervals, and now in the 
half-light of morn the weather 
seemed more vicious than ever. 
The wind cut my ears, the whole 
firmament was full of the rend- 
ings and thunders of the storm. 
Rain fell in blinding sheets, the 
heath was a marsh, and it was 
the most I could do to struggle 
against the hurricane which 
stopped my breath. And all 
the while I knew I was not 
alone in the desert. 

All men know in imagina- 
tion or in experience the sen- 
sation of being spied on. The 
nerves tingle, the skin grows 
hot and prickly, and there is a 
queer sinking of the heart. In- 
tensify this common feeling a 
hundredfold, and you get a 
tenth part of what I suffered. 
I am telling a plain tale, and 
record bare physical facts. My 
lips stood out from my teeth as 
I heard, or felt, a rustle in the 
heather, a scraping among 
stones. Some subtle magnetic 
link seemed established between 
my body and the mysterious 
world around. I became sick 
acutely sick with the ceaseless 
apprehension. 

My fright became so com- 



plete that when I turned a 
corner of rock, or stepped in 
deep heather, I seemed to feel 
a body rub against me. This 
continued all the way up the 
Farawa water, and then up its 
feeder to the little lonely loch. 
It kept me from looking for- 
ward ; but it likewise kept me 
in such a sweat of fright that I 
was ready to faint. Then the 
notion came upon me to test 
this fancy of mine. If I was 
tracked thus closely, clearly the 
trackers would bar my way if 
I turned back. So I wheeled 
round and walked a dozen paces 
down the glen. 

Nothing stopped me. I was 
about to turn again, when some- 
thing made me take six more 
paces. At the fourth something 
rustled in the heather, and my 
neck was gripped as in a vice. 
I had already made up my mind 
on what I would do. I would 
be perfectly still, I would con- 
quer my fear, and let them do 
as they pleased with me so long 
as they took me to their dwell- 
ing. But at the touch of the 
hands my resolutions fled. I 
struggled and screamed. Then 
something was clapped on my 
mouth, speech and strength 
went from me, and once more I 
was back in the maudlin child- 
hood of terror. 

In the cave it was always a 
dusky twilight. I seemed to be 



1899.' 



No-Mari s-Land. 



31 



lying in the same place, with 
the same dull glare of firelight 
far off, and the same close stu- 
* pefying smell. One of the crea- 
tures was standing silently at 
my side, and I asked him some 
trivial question. He turned 
and shambled down the passage, 
leaving me alone. 

Then he returned with an- 
other, and they talked their 
guttural talk to me. I scarcely 
listened till I remembered that 
in a sense I was here of my 
own accord, and on a definite 
mission. The purport of their 
speech seemed to be that, now I 
had returned, I must beware of 
a second flight. Once I had 
been spared; a second time I 
should be killed without mercy. 

I assented gladly. The Folk, 
then, had some use for me. I 
felt my errand prospering. 

Then the old creature which 
I had seen before crept out of 
some corner and squatted be- 
side me. He put a claw on my 
shoulder, a horrible, corrugated, 
skeleton thing, hairy to the 
finger-tips and nailless. He 
grinned, too, with toothless 
gums, and his hideous old voice 
was like a file on sandstone. 

I asked questions, but he 
would only grin and jabber, 
looking now and then furtively 
over his shoulder towards the 
fire. 

I coaxed and humoured him, 
till he launched into a narrative 
of which I could make nothing. 
It seemed a mere string of 
names, with certain words re- 
peated at fixed intervals. Then 
t^ it flashed on me that this might 
be a religious incantation. I 
had discovered remnants of a 
ritual and a mythology among 
them. It was possible that 



these were sacred days, and that 
I had stumbled upon some rude 
celebration. 

I caught a word or two and 
repeated them. He looked at 
me curiously. Then I asked 
him some leading question, and 
he replied with clearness. My 
guess was right. The mid- 
summer week was the holy 
season of the year, when sacri- 
fices were offered to the gods. 

The notion of sacrifices dis- 
quieted me, and I would fain 
have asked further. But the 
creature would speak no more. 
He hobbled off, and left me alone 
in the rock -chamber to listen 
to a strange sound which hung 
ceaselessly about me. It must 
be the storm without, like a 
pack of artillery rattling among 
the crags. A storm of storms 
surely, for the place echoed and 
hummed, and to my unquiet 
eye the very rock of the roof 
seemed to shake! 

Apparently my existence was 
forgotten, for I lay long before 
any one returned. Then it was 
merely one who brought food, 
the same strange meal as be- 
fore, and left hastily. When 
I had eaten I rose and stretched 
myself. My hands and knees 
still quivered nervously ; but I 
was strong and perfectly well 
in body. The empty, desolate, 
tomb - like place was eerie 
enough to scare any one ; but 
its emptiness was comfort when 
I thought of its inmates. Then 
I wandered down the passage 
towards the fire which was 
burning in loneliness. Where 
had the Folk gone ? I puzzled 
over their disappearance. 

Suddenly sounds began to 
break on my ear, coming from 
some inner chamber at the end 



32 



No-Marie-Land. 



[Jan. 



of that in which the fire burned. 
I could scarcely see for the 
smoke ; but I began to make 
my way towards the noise, 
feeling along the sides of rock. 
Then a second gleam of light 
seemed to rise before me, and 
I came to an aperture in the 
wall which gave entrance to 
another room. 

This in turn was full of 
smoke and glow a murky 
orange glow, as if from some 
strange flame of roots. There 
were the squat moving figures, 
running in wild antics round 
the fire. I crouched in the en- 
trance, terrified and yet curi- 
ous, till I saw something be- 
yond the blaze "which held me 
dumb. Apart from the others 
and tied to some stake in the 
wall was a woman's figure, and 
the face was the face of the 
shepherd's sister. 

My first impulse was flight. 
I must get away and think, 
plan, achieve some desperate 
way of escape. I sped back to 
the silent chamber as if the 
gang were at my heels. It 
was still empty, and I stood 
helplessly in the centre, looking 
at the impassable walls of rock 
as a wearied beast may look at 
the walls of its cage. I be- 
thought me of the way I had 
escaped before and rushed 
thither, only to find it blocked 
by a huge contrivance of stone. 
Yards and yards of solid rock 
were between me and the upper 
air, and yet through it all came 
the crash and whistle of the 
storm. If I were at my wits' 
end in this inner darkness, there 
was also high commotion among 
the powers of the air in that 
upper world. 



As I stood I heard the soft 
steps of my tormentors. They 
seemed to think I was meditat- 
ing escape, for they flung them- 
selves on me and bore me to 
the ground. I did not struggle, 
and when they saw me quiet, 
they squatted round and began 
to speak. They told me of the 
holy season and its sacrifices. 
At first I could not follow 
them ; then when I caught 
familiar words I found some 
clue, and they became intelli- 
gible. They spoke of a woman, 
and I asked, " What woman ? " 
With all frankness they told 
me of the custom which pre- 
vailed how every twentieth 
summer a woman was sacri- 
ficed to some devilish god, and 
by the hand of one of the 
stranger race. I said nothing, 
but my whitening face must 
have told them a tale, though 
I strove hard to keep my com- 
posure. I asked if they had 
found the victims. "She is 
in this place," they said ; " and 
as for the man, thou art he." 
And with this they left me. 

I had still some hours ; so 
much I gathered from their 
talk, for the sacrifice was at 
sunset. Escape was cut off 
for ever. I have always been 
something of a fatalist, and at 
the prospect of the irrevocable 
end my cheerfulness returned. 
I had my pistol, for they had 
taken nothing from me. I 
took out the little weapon and 
fingered it lovingly. Hope of 
the lost, refuge of the van- 
quished, ease to the coward, 
blessed be he who first con- 
ceived it ! 

The time dragged on, the 
minutes grew to hours, and 






1899.] 



No-Man 's-Land. 



33 



still I was left solitary. Only 
the mad violence of the storm 
broke the quiet. It had in- 
creased in violence, for the stones 
at the mouth of the exit by 
which I had formerly escaped 
seemed to rock with some ex- 
ternal pressure, and cutting 
shafts of wind slipped past and 
cleft the heat of the passage. 
What a sight the ravine outside 
must be, I thought, set in the 
forehead of a great hill, and 
swept clean by every breeze! 
Then came a crashing, and the 
long hollow echo of a fall. The 
rocks are splitting, said I ; the 
road down the corrie will be im- 
passable now and for evermore. 

I began to grow weak with 
the nervousness of the waiting, 
and by-and-by I lay down and 
fell into a sort of doze. When 
I next knew consciousness I 
was being roused by two of the 
Folk, and bidden get ready. I 
stumbled to my feet, felt for the 
pistol in the hollow of my sleeve, 
and prepared to follow. 

When we came out into the 
wider chamber the noise of the 
storm was deafening. The roof 
rang like a shield which has 
been struck. I noticed, per- 
turbed as I was, that my guards 
cast anxious eyes around them, 
alarmed, like myself, at the 
murderous din. Nor was the 
world quieter when we entered 
the last chamber, where the fire 
burned and the remnant of the 
Folk waited. Wind had found 
an entrance from somewhere or 
other, and the flames blew here 
and there, and the smoke gyrated 
> in odd circles. At the back, and 
apart from the rest, I saw the 
dazed eyes and the white old 
drawn face of the woman. 

VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



They led me up beside her to 
a place where there was a rude 
flat stone, hollowed in the centre, 
and on it a rusty iron knife, 
which seemed once to have 
formed part of a scythe-blade. 
Then I saw the ceremonial 
which was marked out for me. 
It was the very rite which I 
had dimly figured as current 
among a rude people, and even 
in that moment I had some- 
thing of the scholar's satisfac- 
tion. 

The oldest of the Folk, who 
seemed to be a sort of priest, 
came to my side and mumbled 
a form of words. His fetid 
breath sickened me ; his dull 
eyes, glassy like a brute's with 
age, brought my knees together. 
He put the knife in my hands, 
dragged the terror - stricken 
woman forward to the altar, 
and bade me begin. 

I began by sawing her bonds 
through. When she felt herself 
free she would have fled back, 
but stopped when I bade her. 
At that moment there came a 
noise of rending and crashing 
as if the hills were falling, and 
for one second the eyes of the 
Folk were averted from the 
frustrated sacrifice. 

Only for a moment. The 
next they saw what I had done, 
and with one impulse rushed 
towards me. Then began the 
last scene in the play. I sent 
a bullet through the right eye 
of the first thing that came on. 
The second shot went wide ; but 
the third shattered the hand of 
an elderly ruffian with a cruel 
club. Never for an instant did 
they stop, and now they were 
clutching at me. I pushed the 
woman behind, and fired three 
C 



34 



No-Man* s-Land. 



[Jan. 



rapid shots in blind panic, and 
then, clutching the scythe, I 
struck right and left like a 
madman. 

Suddenly I saw the fore- 
ground sink before my eyes. 
The roof sloped down, and with 
a sickening hiss a mountain of 
rock and earth seemed to pre- 
cipitate itself on my assailants. 
One, nipped in the middle by a 
rock, caught my eye by his 
hideous writhings. Two only 
remained in what was now a 
little suffocating chamber, with 
embers from the fire still smok- 
ing on the floor. 

The woman caught me by 
the hand and drew me with 
her, while the two seemed mute 
with fear. " There's a road at 
the back," she screamed. "I 
ken it. I fand it out." And 
she pulled me up a narrow hole 
in the rock. 

How long we climbed I do 
not know. We were both 
fighting for air, with the tight- 
ness of throat and chest, and 
the craziness of limb which 
mean suffocation. I cannot 
tell when we first came to the 
surface, but I remember the 
woman, who seemed to have 
the strength of extreme terror, 
pulling me from the edge of a 
crevasse and laying me on a 
flat rock. It seemed to be the 
depth of winter, with sheer- 
falling rain and a wind that 
shook the hills. 

Then I was once more my- 
self and could look about me. 
From my feet yawned a sheer 
abyss, where once had been a 
hill-shoulder. Some great mass 
of rock on the brow of the 
mountain had been loosened by 
the storm, and in its fall had 



caught the lips of the ravine 
and swept the nest of dwellings 
into a yawning pit. Beneath 
a mountain of rubble lay buried 
that life on which I had thought 
to build my fame. 

My feeling Heaven help 
me ! was not thankfulness for 
God's mercy and my escape, 
but a bitter mad regret. I 
rushed frantically to the edge, 
and when I saw only the black- 
ness of darkness I wept weak 
tears. All the time the storm 
was tearing at my body, and I 
had to grip hard by hand and 
foot to keep my place. 

Suddenly on the brink of the 
ravine I saw a third figure. 
We two were not the only 
fugitives. One of the Folk 
had escaped. 

The thought put new life 
into me, for I had lost the first 
fresh consciousness of terror. 
There still remained a relic of 
the vanished life. Could I but 
make the thing my prisoner, 
there would be proof in my 
hands to overcome a sceptical 
world. 

I ran to it, and to my sur- 
prise the thing as soon as it 
saw me rushed to meet me. 
At first I thought it was with 
some instinct of self-preserva- 
tion, but when I saw its eyes 
I knew the purpose of fight. 
Clearly one or other should go 
no more from the place. 

We were some ten yards from 
the brink when I grappled with 
it. Dimly I heard the woman 
scream with fright, and saw 
her scramble across the hillside. 
Then we were tugging in a / 
death-throe, the hideous smell 
of the thing in my face, its red 
eyes burning into mine, and its 
hoarse voice muttering. Its 



1899.] 



No-Man? s-Land. 



35 



strength seemed incredible ; but 
I, too, am no weakling. We 
tugged and strained, its nails 
biting into my flesh, while I 
choked its throat unsparingly. 
Every second I dreaded lest we 
should plunge together over 
the ledge, for it was thither 
my adversary tried to draw 
me. I caught my heel in a 
nick of rock, and pulled madly 
against it. 



And then, while I was begin- 
ning to glory with the pride of 
conquest, my hope was dashed 
in pieces. The thing seemed to 
break from my arms, and, as if 
in despair, cast itself headlong 
into the impenetrable darkness. 
I stumbled blindly after it, 
saved myself on the brink, and 
fell back, sick and ill, into a 
merciful swoon. 



CHAPTER VIII. NOTE IN CONCLUSION BY THE EDITOK. 



At this point the narrative 
of my unfortunate friend, Mr 
Graves of St Chad's, breaks off 
abruptly. He wrote it shortly 
before his death, and was pre- 
vented from completing it by 
the shock of apoplexy which 
carried him off. In accordance 
with the instructions in his will, 
I have prepared it for publica- 
tion, and now in much fear and 
hesitation give it to the world. 
First, however, I must supple- 
ment it by such facts as fall 
within my knowledge. 

The shepherd seems to have 
gone to Allermuir and by the 
help of the letter convinced the 
inhabitants. A body of men 
was collected under the land- 
lord, and during the afternoon 
set out for the hills. But unfor- 
tunately the great midsummer 
storm the most terrible of 
recent climatic disturbances 
had filled the mosses and 
streams, and they found them- 
selves unable to proceed by any 
direct road. Ultimately late 
in the evening they arrived at 
the cottage of Farawa, only to 
find there a raving woman, the 
shepherd's sister, who seemed 
crazy with brain - fever. She 



told some rambling story about 
her escape, but her narrative 
said nothing of Mr Graves. So 
they treated her with what 
skill they possessed, and shel- 
tered for the night in and 
around the cottage. Next 
morning the storm had abated 
a little, and the woman had 
recovered something of her wits. 
From her they learned that Mr 
Graves was lying in a ravine 
on the side of the Muneraw in 
imminent danger of his life. A 
body set out to find him; but 
so immense was the landslip, 
and so dangerous the whole 
mountain, that it was nearly 
evening when they recovered 
him from the ledge of rock. 
He was alive, but unconscious, 
and on bringing him back to 
the cottage it was clear that he 
was, indeed, very ill. There he 
lay for three months, while the 
best skill that could be got was 
procured for him. By dint of 
an uncommon toughness of con- 
stitution he survived ; but it 
was an old and feeble man who 
returned to Oxford in the early 
winter. 

The shepherd and his sister 
immediately left the countryside, 



36 



No-Man' s-Land. 



[Jan. 



and were never more heard of, 
unless they are the pair of un- 
fortunates who are at present 
in a Scottish pauper asylum, 
incapable of remembering even 
their names. The people who 
last spoke with them declared 
that their minds seemed weak- 
ened by a great shock, and that 
it was hopeless to try to get any 
connected or rational statement. 

The career .of my poor friend 
from that hour was little short 
of a tragedy. He awoke from 
his illness to find the world in- 
credulous ; even the country- 
folk of Allermuir set down the 
story to the shepherd's crazi- 
ness and my friend's credulity. 
In Oxford his argument was 
received with polite scorn. An 
account of his experiences which 
he drew up for the ' Times ' was 
refused by the editor; and an 
article on "Primitive Peoples 
of the North," embodying what 
he believed to be the result of 
his discoveries, was unanim- 
ously rejected by every re- 
sponsible journal in Europe. 
Whether he was soured by 
such treatment, or whether his 
brain had already been weak- 
ened, he became a morose silent 
man, and for the two years 
before his death had few friends 
and no society. From the 
obituary notice in the ' Times ' 
I take the following paragraph, 
which shows in what light the 
world had come to look upon 
him : 

"At the outset of his career 
he "was regarded as a rising 
scholar in one department of 
archaeology, and his Taffert lec- 
tures were a real contribution 



to an obscure subject. But in 
after-life he was led into fan- 
tastic speculations ; and when he i_ 
found himself unable to con- 
vince his colleagues, he gradu- 
ally retired into himself, and 
lived practically a hermit's life 
till his death. His career, thus 
broken short, is a sad instance 
of the fascination which the 
recondite and the quack can 
exercise even on men of ap- 
proved ability." 

And now his own narrative 
is published, and the world can 
judge as it pleases about the 
amazing romance. The view 
which will doubtless find gen- 
eral acceptance is that the 
whole is a figment of the brain, 
begotten of some harmless 
moorland adventure and the 
company of such religious 
maniacs as the shepherd and 
his sister. But some who knew 
the former sobriety and calm- 
ness of my friend's mind may 
be disposed timorously and with 
deep hesitation to another ver- 
dict. They may accept the 
narrative, and believe that some- 
where in those moorlands he 
met with a horrible primitive 
survival, passed through the 
strangest adventure, and had 
his finger on an epoch-making 
discovery. In this case they 
will be inclined to sympathise 
with the loneliness and misun- 
derstanding of his latter days. 
It is not for me to decide the 
question. That which alone 
could bring proof is buried be- 
neath a thousand tons of rock 
in the midst of an untrodden 
desert. 

JOHN BUCHAN. 






1899.] 



Romance of the Fur Trade. 



37 



ROMANCE OF THE FUR TRADE I THE MOUNTAIN MEN. 



THE few survivors of the Red 
men who once ranged the territo- 
ries of the Union from the Great 
Lakes to the Gulf of Florida 
have been relegated to the re- 
serves ; but the mountain men, 
who were their inveterate ene- 
mies, are a vanished race. Those 
dare-devils, who feared neither 
God nor man, nor grizzlies, 
nevertheless did good work in 
their day and generation. They 
were the scouts who pushed 
ahead into the enemy's country, 
preceding the Western woods- 
men and New England farmers, 
the hardy pioneers of advanc- 
ing civilisation. Purveyors of 
the fur marts, it was their for- 
tunate lot to combine business 
with recreation. They hunted 
and trapped for a livelihood, 
and fought for the sheer fun of 
it, as an Irishman at a wake, 
as much as in self-defence. 
Devoted to a life of perilous 
adventure, never daunted by 
the terrible privations on which 
they reckoned, they could in- 
dulge their somewhat eccentric 
tastes to the full. After all, they 
only carried to an extreme the 
passion which tempts delicately 
nurtured English sportsmen to 
stalk the Ovis poli of the Pamirs 
or to go tiger-shooting in the 
pestilential jungles of the Terai. 
If these men had gone westward 
from the settlements, not one in 
a hundred ever returned, and 
few of them ever slept in the 
rudest of cemeteries. Probably 
nineteen in twenty came to 
violent ends : their bones were 
left to bleach in the mountains, 



or their scalps were hung in 
triumph to an Indian tent-pole. 
They took their revenge in full, 
and though they were but scat- 
tered handfuls compared to the 
hordes of the Indian braves, the 
balance stood on the credit-side 
of their account. On the whole, 
they rather preferred " raising 
hair " to trapping beaver, 
though the one meant profit 
and the other was mere pleas- 
ure. It was the pleasure that 
came of the spirit of rough 
chivalry and the rare convic- 
tion of a duty fulfilled. For the 
one redeeming quality of these 
reckless mountaineers, beyond 
the indomitable pluck which was 
their common characteristic, was 
the strong bond of brotherhood. 
If a man were known to have 
deserted a comrade, he was 
doomed to indelible disgrace. 
It was understood, of course, 
that in a surprise and a sauve 
qui pent, it was a case for the 
moment of each man for -him- 
self. They rallied afterwards to 
take their revenge. For be- 
sides the immemorial quarrel 
between the white man and the 
red, every trapper had sundry 
personal blood -feuds on his 
hands. Poor Bill or Rube had 
gone under in such and such cir- 
cumstances. Wall ! so many of 
the red skunks were bound to be 
rubbed out. The battered stock 
of the veteran's rifle was scored 
with notches, each indicating a 
death. 

The Red Indians were not a 
pious race and practised few of 
the Christian virtues, but at 



38 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



least they had a religion of a 
sort. They believed in the 
Great Spirit : they sought to 
propitiate malignant powers 
and the destructive forces of the 
elements. The trapper, as a 
rule, was absolutely irreligious 
and godless. The wildest storm 
that ever broke only suggested 
to him the necessity of kindling 
the camp-fire in some shelter 
where it was possible to keep it 
in, and the propriety of arrang- 
ing his buffalo robe so that the 
water would easily run off. It 
is safe to say that before the 
New Englanders and the Ken- 
tucky or Ohio housewives plod- 
ded out into the prairies behind 
sluggish ox-teams, no Bible had 
ever been seen beyond the Miss- 
issippi; and a missionary would 
have made easier impression on 
a Jew or Chinee than on those 
children of the wilderness, ab- 
sorbed in their devotion to ma- 
terialism. But though careless 
or unconscious of celestial influ- 
ences, they were not unsuscept- 
ible to the tender passion. They 
were always marrying in moun- 
tain fashion and getting di- 
vorced. Sometimes the squaws 
would be swapped for dollars. 
The confirmed celibates were 
very few. Many of the moun- 
taineers had had as many wives 
as any Mormon elder ; but they 
took the ladies in succession in 
place of simultaneously. Some- 
times these fleeting unions had 
a dash of romance in them, as 
when an inflammable mountain 
boy was fired by the charms of 
some olive-complexioned beauty 
at a fandango, when he had been 
raiding down in New Mexico. 
More often, in the Wild West, 
as in Belgravia, practical con- 



siderations suggested the match, 
and the Indian squaw was a 
serviceable drudge who cooked 
the deer-meat and mended the *"' 
moccasins. Apropos to broid- 
ered moccasins, some of the 
trappers were dandies in their 
way. They must have carried 
razors, for they were clean- 
shaven ; but the long hair that 
fell in luxuriance over their 
shoulders was carefully anointed 
with bear's-grease and buffalo- 
marrow. No wonder those flow- 
ing love -locks were tempting 
trophies for the Indians. Their 
ordinary wear was buckskin, 
and leggings often fringed with 
scalps ; but when off duty and 
returning from a successful trip, 
they got themselves up in the 
height of sporting finery. There 
was the cap of f oxskin or beaver- 
pelt, with the tail dangling be- 
hind the ear; the embroidered 
shirt of softly dressed deerskin ; 
the fantastically fringed leg- 
gings and the ornamented moc- 
casins. But unless they had a 
rare run of luck with the cards, 
the gay gala suit was sure soon 
to change owners. For all, with- 
out exception, were inveterate 
gamblers, and their idea of a 
happy holiday was to get quickly 
rid of their gains at poker or 
euchre. The camps and posts, 
where they mustered after the 
hunts, were infested by traders, 
who grew bloated as spiders, 
while their customers remained 
lean. No mountain man ever 
laid on flesh or went out of con- 
dition by indulging in a pro- 
longed period of good living. 
Needless to say, they all drank / 
deep; yet they appreciated coffee 
even more than whisky, and 
coffee, powder, and villanous 



1899.] 

spirits changed hands through 
the trading at exorbitant prices. 
Between gambling and other 
dissipation they were speedily 
cleaned out, and had either to 
engage themselves anew to some 
trading company or borrow an 
outfit for the next free expedi- 
tion on usurious terms. Yet, on 
second thoughts, considering the 
risks they ran, no terms could 
well be deemed excessive. So 
far as we remember, the only 
member of the fraternity who 
retired to die peaceably with a 
competence was the celebrated 
Kit Carson. For Bent, who 
made his pile, went under in 
the massacre at Taos. And 
Kit, who was as famous a guide 
as he was a fighter, was a man 
of altogether exceptional genius, 
and of still more exceptional 
strength of will. For few could 
refuse to drink or gamble when 
the discourtesy was taken as the 
challenge to a duel. 

These trappers were the last 
men to be addicted to seeing 
visions or dreaming dreams. 
But could any one of them 
have projected his spirit into 
the future, seeking to emulate 
the wizards or medicine-men of 
the Sioux or Blackfeet, he would 
assuredly, in his own emphatic 
language, have declared that 
hell was full of such doings. 
What trapper of fifty years 
ago could have imagined a time 
when the countless herds of the 
buffalo would be exterminated ; 
when the Indians who had 
subsisted on them would have 
followed in their tracks, trans- 
ferring the chase to their happy 
hunting - grounds ; when the 



The Mountain Men. 



39 



broad prairies between the Mis- 
sissippi and the Black Hills 
would be waving in expanses of 
golden grain; when the shriek 
of the engine would replace the 
scream of the eagle in the canons 
of the Rockies spanned by girder 
bridges ; and when the moun- 
tain torrents of Nevada or Idaho 
would be dammed to drive 
stamping machinery among the 
shafts and adits of busy mining 
townships ? The trappers have 
gone, and have been succeeded 
in their turn by gold-seekers, 
road agents, and cowboys al- 
most as lawless. Were they to 
come back, they would be in a 
changed and uncongenial world ; 
a world in which the liberty of 
the free and independent hunter 
would be perpetually in conflict 
with obnoxious and newfangled 
laws ; a world where the wiping 
out of a red varmint, far from 
being as much a matter of merit 
as setting the heel on a rattle- 
snake's head, would lead to a 
trial that might end in a halter ; 
a world where the friendly knife- 
thrust that clenched a heated 
argument might mean penal 
seclusion on the silent system. 
Nevertheless they would chiefly 
have themselves to thank, for 
they mainly contributed to 
changes they would have de- 
plored. 

We have told in a former 
article 1 how the fur trade of 
the North had been virtually 
monopolised by the rival Cana- 
dian Companies, till Astor 
pushed his enterprise by land 
and sea to the headquarters he 
established on the Columbia 
estuary. In the war between 



1 See 'Blackwood's Magazine' for October 1898. 



40 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



Britain and America Fort Astor 
passed into English hands, and 
changed its name to Fort George. 
The North-West Company had 
raced him to his goal, and re- 
mained after his ejection to reap 
the fruits of his labours. They 
did not enjoy the lucrative 
monopoly for long. The Hud- 
son Bay Company followed fast 
on their heels, and, after some 
years of ruinous competition, 
the impoverished partners of 
the North-West sued for peace, 
and the associations were amal- 
gamated. The predominant 
partner gave the name to the 
new society ; but though it 
traded under the title of Hud- 
son Bay, it is noteworthy that 
its agents were always known 
to the mountain men as the 
North -Westers. The Hudson 
Bayers were foreigners from 
the Far North; the North- 
Westers were neighbours, so 
to speak, who had latterly en- 
listed their services. For the 
Hudson Bay Company had 
originally traded in regions 
studded with lakes or inland 
seas, and traversed in every 
direction by water - channels. 
Consequently their wares had 
been transported by boats, and 
for the most part their employe's 
"were Canadian voyageurs. These 
men were familiar with the pad- 
dle, and prided themselves on 
their skill in navigating broken 
water or shooting the rapids. 
But they never pretended to 
readiness with the rifle, and 
were little to be relied upon in 
a scrimmage with the savages. 
The North-Westers, in extend- 
ing their ventures to the south 
of the Great Lakes and the 
west of the Mississippi, struck 



into regions where boats were 
to be abandoned, and where 
then? mounted parties, sur- ; 
rounded by dangers and threat- 
ened by surprises, must depend 
entirely on themselves. Hence 
they had to engage men of a 
very different stamp, and re- 
cruits were to be found in 
abundance among the restless 
spirits of the frontier. 

Henry of the ' Missouri Com- 
pany had crossed the Rockies 
in 1808, and we have described 
the frightful sufferings and 
hardships endured by Astor's 
overland expedition to the mouth 
of the Columbia. When Astor's 
enterprise had come to grief, 
the experiences of his pioneer- 
ing parties, notwithstanding the 
profitable trade they had opened, 
acted rather as a deterrent 
than as encouragement. The 
superstitions which had en- 
hanced the terrors of the Rock- 
ies may have been dispelled, but 
the material obstacles seemed 
more formidable than before. 
For a dozen of years the Amer- 
ican fur-traders confined their 
operations to the Eastern water- 
shed; nor had they any im- 
mediate inducement to go far- 
ther. Their daring hunters were 
the first to explore the head 
waters of the Missouri, the 
Yellowstone, and the shallow 
Platte, with the innumerable 
tributaries of the streams flow- 
ing towards the Mississippi. It 
was the golden age of the trap- 
per: he had dollars for the 
gathering, and as to profusion 
of game, he was in a paradise. 
Countless buffalo swarmed on J 
the plains in the periodical 
migrations ; he gorged himself 
on the choicest fresh meat when 



1899.] 



The Mountain Men. 



41 



the hunts were in full swing, 
and jerked strips of the flesh 
for future use. When the buf- 
falo failed, there were antelope 
on the prairie, and black- or 
white - tailed deer in every 
wooded bottom. But the big 
game only supplied his larder, 
for he did not trouble himself 
to dress the bulky buffalo robes 
which afterwards became a prof- 
itable article of trade. His 
business was the trapping of 
the beaver, and in these days 
each beaver-plew of full-grown 
animal or "kitten" fetched six 
to eight dollars overhead. The 
beavers had multiplied undis- 
turbed from time immemorial ; 
indeed some of the Red men 
who believed in transmigration 
of souls claimed kindred with 
those solemn amphibious archi- 
tects. Their dams were to be 
seen in every rivulet ; they left 
their "sign" on the bank of 
each sandy creek ; in some 
places there were populous settle- 
ments beneath lakes of their 
own formation. The beavers 
were plentiful enough ; the 
trouble was to trap them. And 
nothing gives a better idea of 
the imperturbable coolness of 
the trappers. They had pa- 
tiently to puzzle out the " sign," 
and note the spot where the 
animal took to treading the 
shallows. There the trap was 
to be set, and with every sort 
of deliberate precaution. N~o 
animal is more warily sagacious ; 
his suspicion is instinctive, and 
his keenness of scent almost pre- 
ternatural. Details had to be 
carefully attended to ; and haste 
or carelessness was fatal to suc- 
cess. Yet all the time there 
was every chance that the trap- 



per was being stalked by skulk- 
ing enemies. If he were not 
transfixed when bending over 
his work by an arrow from an 
ambush, there was the proba- 
bility that the trap for the' 
beaver might prove a snare for 
himself. When he came back 
next morning to see what his 
luck was, the enemy might be 
lying in wait to take him un- 
awares. 

The mystery is how any one 
of these men escaped. The 
country to the west of the 
Rockies was in possession of 
warlike tribes, who naturally 
resented intrusion on their hunt- 
ing-grounds. Sioux, Blackfeet, 
and the sneaking Crows, who 
had an exceptional reputation 
as thieves and horse - stealers, 
were always at feud among 
themselves, and consequently 
ever on the alert. They threw 
out mounted pickets in all di- 
rections from their villages and 
encampments, whose business 
it was to observe and report 
any signs of hostile movement. 
A thread of smoke seen in the 
distance attracted attention at 
once, and a startled deer or 
a fluttered water - fowl was 
enough to invite close investi- 
gation. It was impossible that 
a troop of white men, careless 
about the trail they left, which 
indeed they could in no case 
cover, should elude observation. 
The rather that, while the In- 
dians smothered their fires, or 
dispensed with them altogether, 
when within possible touch of 
an enemy, the trappers would 
bivouac round a blazing pile 
when fuel in sufficient quantity 
was forthcoming. The pillar 
of fiery cloud flashing far and 



42 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



near was a sort of contemptu- 
ous challenge to the Redskins 
to come on. It seldom pleased 
them to come on in these cir- 
cumstances. The Indian had 
a superstition against attacks 
in the dark. Moreover, he knew 
that the whites kept their eyes 
skinned. The men lay around 
with feet radiating to the fire, 
each with his rifle ready to his 
hand. A guard was told off 
to look after the horses, and 
sentinels were regularly, though 
irregularly, set. For it need 
hardly be said they did not 
stand at attention to be shot 
at, or pace to and fro with 
disciplined precision. They were 
anywhere or everywhere : they 
were lying flat on their bellies, 
with eyes peering keenly out 
into the darkness ; or they were 
crawling and taking advantage 
of each scrap of cover, pausing 
from time to time to listen with 
ears pricked like the coyote's. 
The first intimation the prowl- 
ing marauder might have of 
their proximity would probably 
be the gun-flash that heralded 
a bullet in the body. If any- 
thing could screw up the In- 
dians' courage to a nocturnal 
onset, it was the irresistible 
temptation of a haul of horse- 
flesh. The animals were se- 
cured and picketed somewhat 
apart from the fire and the 
main body; and if there were 
an attack, it was sure to be 
delivered' in storm or rain and 
fitful moonlight, when the howl- 
ing of the wind drowned other 
sounds, and the rain might have 
disarmed the vigilance of the 
guard or soaked the priming 
of the rifles. Then the slumber- 
ing camp was roused by the 



war - whoop ; the picket - ropes 
were cut, the beasts were stam- 
peded, and the baffled hunters 
were left to go afoot. Such * 
mishaps were at first excep- 
tional : when they did happen, 
the assailants were generally 
out of temper and reckless on 
returning discomfited from some 
unsuccessful raid. Besides, the 
trappers were for the most part 
accompanied by traders, and 
the Indians let the cavalcade 
go by as much from policy as 
from prudence. They had no 
desire to scare away the men 
who brought them powder and 
fire-water for barter. But when 
those flying expeditions began 
to cross the mountains, and to 
open markets on the Pacific 
slope, the tribes who held the 
passes saw matters in a differ- 
ent light. Now that there was 
competition, it struck them it 
was cheaper to plunder the car- 
avan than to trade with it, and, 
ambushed among the rocks of 
gorges and canons, they could 
shoot down their embarrassed 
victims with small personal risk. 
It was only after a few surprises 
of the kind that the partisans, 
as they were called, who led the 
trapping bands, began to learn 
some rude principles of military 
strategy. They threw out ad- 
vance-guards, they crowned the 
heights with scouts, and threaded 
the defiles in relative security. 

But it was when the band 
broke up, and the members were 
detached to hunt in couples, 
that the danger and romance 
of desperate adventure really 
began. Often absolutely ignor- / 
ant of the country, armed only 
with the long single barrel and 
a knife, bound to bring back a 



1899.] 



The Mountain Men. 



43 



'tain quantity of fur or to be 
beggared and discredited, they 
were left entirely to their own 
'devices. Weighted with traps 
and ammunition, they went 
mounted, and had led horses 
or pack -mules to carry their 
peltries. Their animals were of 
course an encumbrance and ad- 
ditional source of danger. They 
had sometimes to pick their way 
among precipices where the 
mountain sheep could scarcely 
find a footing, and to forage as 
they could on stony wastes, 
which towards winter were 
buried deep in the snow-drifts. 
If the horses came to grief the 
furs must be abandoned, and all 
the trapper's sufferings were 
bootless. Had he gone afoot 
he might have skulked in the 
thickets and hoped to elude the 
savages. With a train of beasts 
his trail was conspicuous, and 
we repeat that it is a matter of 
marvel how any of those adven- 
turers escaped. 

Even had those regions been 
unpeopled, the rugged character 
of the country and the cruel 
severity of the winters would 
have made existence impossible 
to ordinary men. The trappers 
have left no written remin- 
iscences, but one who shared 
their perils as an amateur has 
described a scene he witnessed, 
in an interlude between storms 
of snow and sleet, when crossing 
the high dividing ridge between 
the valleys of the Kio del Norte 
and the Arkansas. He had 
picked himself up after being 
fairly knocked off his feet by a 
blast that met him on the crest. 
He had scrambled up, leading 
his horse, with the pack-mules 
trailing behind : 



"The view was wild and dismal in 
the extreme. Looking back, the whole 
country was covered with a thick 
carpet of snow, but eastward it was 
seen only in patches here and there. 
Before me lay the main chain of the 
Rocky Mountains, Pike's Peak lifting 
its head far above the rest. . . . 
Rugged peaks and ridges, snow-clad 
and covered with pine, and deep 
gorges filled with broken rocks, every- 
where met the eye. To the eastward 
the mountains gradually smoothed 
away into detached spurs and broken 
spurs, until they met the vast prairies, 
which stretched far as the eye could 
reach, and far beyond, a sea of seem- 
ing barrenness, vast and dismal. A 
hurricane of wind was blowing at the 
time, and clouds of dust swept along 
the sandy prairies like the smoke of a 
million bonfires. On the mountain- 
top it roared and raved through the 
pines, filling the air with snow and 
broken branches, and piling it in huge 
drifts against the trees. The perfect 
solitude of this vast wildness was 
appalling. ... On all sides of me, 
broken ridges and chasms and ravines, 
with masses of piled-up rock and up- 
rooted trees, with clouds of drifting 
snow flying through the air, and the 
hurricane's roar battling through the 
forest at my feet, added to the wild- 
ness of the scene, which was unrelieved 
by the slightest vestige of animal or 
human life." 

The allusion to the absence 
of animal life is suggestive. 
The trapper and the trader 
who had loaded up, perhaps, 
with a little maize lived 
mainly by their guns. Before 
such a storm as is described, 
the game would desert a district 
and shift to more sheltered re- 
treats. Then it was a case of 
absolute starvation, unless the 
wanderer had an unexpected 
stroke of luck. We may imag- 
ine the solitary wayfarer stag- 
gering forward with failing 
strength, his head bowed to the 
blast which pierced his very 
marrow, ravenous with hunger, 






44 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



and knowing all the time that 
it was doubtful whether he 
would have another meal on 
earth. Naturally he had learned 
to eat anything. When even a 
Digger Indian could have found 
no roots, for the plants and the 
beetles were buried deep in the 
snow, he had supported nature 
for days on the carrion of the 
coyote or the foul flesh of the 
vulture. The rattle of the 
rattlesnake had been music in 
his ears, for that was compara- 
tively a dainty, if he could only 
find fuel to cook it. However, 
he was never fastidious, and was 
content to devour it raw. Per- 
haps the nerves were never 
more sorely tried than when he 
sighted a black-tailed buck, or 
an outlying buffalo bull some 
venerable patriarch worn to 
skin and bone, feeble but yet 
more vigorous than himself. 
Life and the square meal that 
would make him forget his 
troubles were hanging on the 
stalk and shot. His nerves 
might be good, but his fingers 
were frozen, and his arms shook 
involuntarily with the cold. If 
the bullet flew wide, as was 
more than likely, philosophy 
or fatalism came to his help, 
and he still plodded doggedly 
onward. For his motto was, 
" Never say die ! " and he knew 
nothing of despair. Or if he 
ever resigned himself to the 
inevitable, it was when caught 
in a blizzard on the plains. 
The dangers of mountain travel 
were bad when he might have 
to take a perpendicular plunge 
into a canon bottom in the 
darkness, with the chance of 
bringing a landslip or a snow 
avalanche along with him. But 



the passage of a broad prairie 
in doubtful weather was like 
crossing the Jornado del Muerto 
in New Mexico, where there is 
not one drop of water in sixty 
miles of desert. If the blizzard 
broke, there was no shelter un- 
less he could reach some clump 
of cotton -wood in a ravine. 
When the darkening scowl of 
the heavens brought premature 
night, he drifted aimlessly with- 
out guidance of any kind, for 
his brain was dazed and his 
instincts failed him. When he 
went through the mockery of 
camping, more from force of 
habit than anything else, to 
turn in fireless and supperless 
under his buffalo robe, it was 
by a miracle of hardihood he 
woke at all, to extricate him- 
self from the drifts of snow 
and hailstones. But in ninety- 
nine cases out of a hundred he 
dropped off into the sleep of 
death. 

It was in 1822 that General 
Ashley, an enterprising Mis- 
sourian, resolved to follow up 
the enterprise of Astor, and or- 
ganise fur -hunting expeditions 
beyond the Rockies. Availing 
himself of the experience of Mr 
Henry, he established a post 
on the upper waters of the 
Yellowstone, whence his trap- 
pers pushed on to the Colorado 
of the West. His example ani- 
mated others, and in a very few 
years there was keen competi- 
tion among American adven- 
turers on the Pacific slopes. 
They were encouraged by the 
fact that Ashley rapidly made 
a modest fortune. He sold his > 
interest, and was succeeded by 
Sublette, renowned in frontier 
trading and fighting, who may 



1899.] 



The Mountain Men. 



45 



be said to have founded the 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company. 
k The new association was not left 
long without a rival, for its suc- 
cess brought the old America 
Fur Company into the field 
again. There was no lack of 
able partners to direct the trad- 
ing operations, and of daring 
partisans to head their bands. 
Very soon, as they pushed west- 
ward down the Columbia, they 
came in contact with the agents 
of the Hudson Bay Company; 
and smaller syndicates from 
time to time tried their for- 
tunes in that boundless field of 
adventure. It was a good time 
for the roving mountain men, 
always ready to hire themselves 
to the highest bidder, and seldom 
overscrupulous as to keeping 
their engagements. The part- 
ners, on whose dash and resource 
depended their Company's divi- 
dends, prided themselves as 
much on their craft as their 
courage. All methods which 
meant money-making were re- 
garded as legitimate. They 
had learned their lessons of 
subtlety in the school of the 
Ked men. It was natural that 
they should race for the best 
lunting and trading grounds, 
and many a clever trick was 
devised to steal a march upon 
watchful competitors. Two 
parties would meet around ad- 
jacent camp-fires, and, keeping 
up a friendly carouse into the 
small hours, exchange all man- 
ner of civilities. One of them, 
in the meantime, would be load- 
ing up the pack -mules, and 
would have marched many 
miles while the others were 
still slumbering. The free trap- 
pers who had provisionally at- 



tached themselves to one side 
were lured to desertion by 
bribes and promises. Occa- 
sionally, rather than share pros- 
pective gains, one band would 
renounce the season's harvest, 
and lead another following jeal- 
ously on their trail into some 
wilderness where furs were 
scarce, and both were con- 
fronted with starvation. 

There was ample scope for 
that crafty strategy. On the 
Atlantic side of the mountains 
the trade was conducted with 
a certain system. It radiated 
from posts which were the local 
headquarters whither the em- 
ploy ds repaired with the pro- 
ducts of the hunt, and where 
the Indians yearly brought their 
furs for barter. At the post of 
a Company there would be no 
competition, and unless excess 
in fiery spirits bred a riot, 
everything went off tolerably 
smoothly. But there were no 
regular forts between the 
Rockies and the Pacific, except 
the southerly outposts of the 
Hudson Bay Company ; the 
natives were thievish, but not 
unfriendly on the whole, and 
they were widely scattered. 
There were no consolidated 
tribes of well-armed warriors 
like Sioux or Blackfeet. They 
seldom attacked a well-equipped 
party, though the lives of the 
trappers who went singly or 
in pairs were none the safer 
on that account. So it was 
the custom for each Com- 
pany to arrange a rendezvous 
in the summer months, where 
a market was opened for the 
Indians in the vicinity. As 
much mystery as might be was 
made of the place of meeting; 



46 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



but it was impossible to keep 
the secret when the object was 
to advertise. The market- 
stance in the wilderness was 
free to all comers ; tents and 
wigwams would spring up like 
mushrooms, and rival bands 
would make their unwelcome 
appearance. The grand object 
was to be first on the ground, 
and to wheedle the aborigines 
out of their furs before prices 
ran up with competition. These 
Indians were shrewd hands at a 
bargain. Tempted as they were 
by the treasures displayed, they 
could have held on indefinitely 
in hope of better terms. But 
the sight and smell of the fire- 
water were irresistible, and 
when the kegs were broached 
the peltries were given away. 
There was little to be picked up 
by belated arrivals; they had 
but the choice of carrying back 
their goods or of caching them. 
Consequently, as we said, all 
devices were resorted to, and the 
rival partisans stuck at nothing. 
Two of the most picturesque 
of American writers have de- 
scribed the methods and habits 
of those mountain men. Wash- 
ington Irving, in 'The Adven- 
tures of Captain Bonne ville,' 
goes into details, personally 
gathered from the captain's 
fresh recollections, of the des- 
perate scramble of the Com- 
panies on the Pacific side. 
Years afterwards Parkman, the 
great historian of the French 
in Canada, went as a mere lad 
" on the Oregon trail," sharing 
the dangers and hardships of 
roving bands of the Indians, by 
way of strengthening a deli- 
cate constitution. Irving met 
Bonne ville at dinner -tables in 



New York, and industriously 
pumped the veteran explorer, 
who was as willing to talk as ,. 
Irving was to listen. Bonne- 
ville, who had served previously 
in the frontier fighting, engaged 
with the American Fur Com- 
pany. As to outfit and all the 
arrangements, he seems to have 
been given a free hand. It was 
he who originated the bold idea 
of taking waggons across the 
plains and the hills. Hitherto 
all goods had been carried on 
pack-saddles. Those waggons 
of his in no way resembled the 
ponderous "prairie schooners," 
which afterwards took to the 
Santa Fe trail, carrying valu- 
able cargoes to the New Mexican 
markets, and paving the way 
for American annexation. Still 
less were they modelled on the 
waggon of South Africa, dragged 
by a score or so of sluggish 
oxen, which tumbles to pieces 
with a capsize, and is as easily 
put together again. They were 
light, and built of tough hickory, 
and were drawn by a four-in- 
hand of mules or horses. As- 
suming that they could scale 
the passes and thread the rocky 
gorges, the old soldier's idea was 
evidently admirable. He could 
load up heavily with goods and 
supplies. Besides, he took an 
ambulant fort along with him, 
for when his waggons were 
formed up in a square, enclos- 
ing a hundred rifles more or 
less reliable, the boldest chief 
of Sioux or Blackfeet would 
shrink from breaking his teeth 
on the intrenchment. On dark 
nights and when the Indians / 
were on the prowl, the animals 
were picketed under cover of 
the guns. His plan worked 



1899/ 



The Mountain Men. 



47 



well upon the whole, but the 
journey was a wonderful record 
of resolute struggles with diffi- 
culties. On the prairies, flooded 
by rain, the wheels stuck in the 
mud, and the mules were well- 
nigh strained to pieces. Then 
the weather changed, and in 
the intense heat the woodwork 
shrank and the tyres 'dropped 
off. Across the Black Hills and 
up the Kocky slopes he threaded 
his way in a labyrinth of river- 
beds, among rocks fallen from 
above, and boulders brought 
down by the torrents. But it 
was only on the summit of the 
mountains that the waggons 
were abandoned ; for if the 
ascent had been dangerous, the 
descent was impossible. Then 
the goods were transferred to 
the backs of the unharnessed 
teams, and the train stumbled 
downwards in single file. 

The inhospitable wilds had 
been solitary enough, and yet 
not altogether so solitary as he 
would have desired. He was 
overtaken by bands of the 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 
of other associations, and by 
parties of free-trappers, all press- 
ing forward to the general goal, 
though as to exact destinations 
all would be guided by circum- 
stances. Among the men with 
whose experience and ingenuity 
he had to contend were names 
of renown in the romance of the 
fur trade Sublette and Fitz- 
patrick, for example who were 
never daunted by danger, and 
seldom at the end of their re- 
sources. The great thing was 
* to arrange an efficient intelli- 
gence department, with capable 
scouts to report the movements 
of other adventurers. Not that 



the rivals ever actually came to 
blows, as in the bloody feuds 
between Hudson Bayers and 
North - Westers. Sometimes, 
indeed, parties would unite in a 
common peril, and there is an 
animated account of storming 
a natural stronghold, where a 
swampy covert was held in force 
by a body of Blackfeet. Some- 
times a partisan chief, to secure 
the season's trade, would risk an 
almost desperate enterprise, as 
when Fitzpatrick rode out alone 
to look for a lagging convoy, 
was tracked and followed up by 
the Indians, to reappear after 
days of lurking in the moun- 
tains, when he had been given 
up for dead. In avoiding pur- 
suit he had nearly perished of 
cold and hunger, for he dared 
neither discharge his rifle nor 
kindle a fire. That, indeed, was 
a common experience when a 
man was lying close, with the 
scalp-hunters on his trail. But 
even at headquarters, in a win- 
ter camp, short commons might 
be confidently reckoned with. 
The fall of the snow suspend- 
ed trapping; the passes were 
blocked and the waters frozen. 
Bonneville camped his first sea- 
son on the banks of the Salmon 
River, where game and fish are 
abundant in the summer, but 
where even the natives are in- 
variably in straits before spring 
raises the blockade. His party 
soon felt the pressure of hunger, 
and neither Nez Perces nor 
Flatheads were in a position to 
help them. Yet others of the 
band were worse off than him- 
self, for a party of his belated 
trappers were unaccounted for. 
There is nothing more thrilling 
in the sensational narrative than 



48 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



the story of suffering and stern 
endurance when he went out 
with a search expedition. Sav- 
ages were manoeuvring to cut 
them off, and every night, ex- 
hausted as they were, they had 
to improvise a rude breastwork 
of fallen trees and vegetable 
rubbish. When the provisions 
finally gave out they were saved 
almost by a miracle, driving 
some half-starved buffalo on to 
the ice, where they slipped, fell, 
and were slaughtered. They 
could scarcely make head against 
the blasts of icy wind, yet that 
wind proved their salvation, for 
their lives depended on their 
horses, and the only grazing 
the poor animals could find was 
where some scrap of coarse pas- 
turage had been swept by the 
blizzard. But those brave fel- 
lows felt amply rewarded for 
their sufferings when they hap- 
pily lighted on the missing men. 
Bonneville returned to civilisa- 
tion after a three years' absence. 
He seems to have come back 
with the conviction that beyond 
certain limits it was hopeless to 
contend with the Hudson Bay 
Company. Organisation, dis- 
cipline, ample capital, above 
all, established posts, and an 
effective chain of communica- 
tions with Canada, gave the 
great association an unassail- 
able superiority. 

Parkman went " on the Ore- 
gon trail" in 1846. In a 
preface to the fourth edition, 
published nearly thirty years 
afterwards, he says, " The 
mountain trapper is no more, 
and the grim romance of his 
wild, hard life is a memory of 
the past." Even in 1846 the 
survivors of the race had been 



changing their habits, and, like 
the stage-coachman when run 
off their boxes by the rail, had . 
been betaking themselves to 
other pursuits more or less 
congenial. The hatters of St 
James's and the Rue St Honore 
had taken to using silk instead 
.of beaver. The United States 
had been garrisoning forts in 
the wilderness, and many of the 
mountain boys attached them- 
selves to these as hunters, guides, 
and scouts. In rare cases they 
had softened their manners 
without losing anything of their 
dash and courage. Parkman 
placed himself in the hands of 
Henry Chatillon, famous among 
frontier men for his shooting 
and scouting. He found him a 
staunch comrade, a chivalrous 
gentleman, and a devoted hus- 
band and father to boot, though 
he had sought a wife in a wig- 
wam. But the old types of 
rugged and undaunted brutality 
were by no means extinct men 
who were doggedly fearless be- 
cause absolutely unimaginative. 
Adroit tacticians, they were 
careless of strategy ; they 
scanned the ground at their 
feet for " sign " and never looked 
abroad. Parkman met two of 
them at Fort Laramie, and their 
conduct was so characteristic of 
the old breed that it is worth 
noting. The Arapahoes having 
refused to give up a murderer, 
had gone out on the war-path 
and were circumventing the 
fort. Each outlet was watched 
by eager eyes, and the smoke 
from the Indian fires went up 
from all directions. But a . 
couple of trappers Rouleau 
and Seraphin had arranged 
for a start, and would not be 



1899.] 



The Mountain Men. 



49 



deterred. Vain were the warn- 
ings of friendly Indians ; they 
laughed at the danger and went 
on with their preparations. 
Parkman paints them to the 
life : 

"Seraphin was a tall, powerful 
fellow, with a sullen and sinister 
countenance. His rifle had very 
probably drawn other blood than 
that of buffalo or Indians. Kouleau 
had a broad, ruddy face, marked with 
as few traces of thought or care as a 
child's. His figure was square and 
strong, but the first joints of both his 
feet were frozen off, and his horse had 
lately thrown and trampled on him, 
by which he was severely injured in 
the chest. But nothing could subdue 
his gaiety, and he had an unlucky 
partiality for squaws. . . . Like 
other trappers, his life was one of con- 
trast and variety ; but when once in 
pursuit of the beaver, he was involved 
in extreme privations and perils. 
Hand and foot, eye and ear, must be 
always alert. Frequently he must 
content himself with devouring his 
evening meal uncooked, lest the light 
of his fire should attract some wan- 
dering Indian ; and sometimes, having 
made the rude repast, he must leave 
his fire still blazing, and withdraw to 
a distance, under cover of the dark- 
ness, that his disappointed enemy, 
drawn thither by the light, may find 
his victim gone, and be unable to 
trace his footsteps in the gloom. 
This is the life led by scores of trap- 
pers in the Eocky Mountains. I once 
met a man whose breast was marked 
with the scars of six bullets and 
arrows, one of his arms broken by a 
shot, and one of his knees shattered ; 
yet still, with the mettle of New Eng- 
land, he continued to follow his peril- 
ous calling." 

Rouleau and Seraphin would 
go out, and " that," says Park- 
man, "was the last I saw of 
them." His volume has a great 
charm, as he eloquently de- 
scribes from personal observa- 
tion all that Irving had gath- 
ered from Bonneville's report. 
VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



He paints the red braves in 
their white buffalo robes, with 
their gaily bedizened squaws, 
as they stalked about the pre- 
cincts of the forts ; he blends 
sentiment with romance, as he 
recalls his impressions of bliz- 
zards and thunderstorms, and 
of lonely night quarters, when 
bivouacking on the plains, ser- 
enaded by owls and coyotes. 
He passed the mountains in 
company of a band of Sioux 
warriors, and "one morning's 
march was not to be forgotten. 
It led us through a sublime 
waste, a wilderness of moun- 
tains and pine - forests, over 
which the spirit of loneliness 
and silence seemed brooding. 
Above and below, little could be 
seen but the same dark green 
foliage. It overspread the val- 
leys and enveloped the moun- 
tains, from the black rocks that 
crowned their summits to the 
streams that circled round their 
bases." ' Such vivid sketches 
present us with the surround- 
ings in which the trapper 
passed his existence. And we 
see him at home if he had a 
home in his hours of idleness 
at St Louis, when getting rid 
of his dollars or looking out for 
a new engagement. There he 
was cock of the walk in the 
motley multitude, walking ar- 
senals of rifle, pistol, and bowie- 
knife, the floating population 
of that base of operations for 
prairie traders and pioneers of 
agriculture. He had his fav- 
ourite houses of call among the 
drinking and gambling saloons, 
where night and day, over the 
decks of cards, he fraternised or 
quarrelled in chronic intoxica- 
tion. There have been more 
D 



50 



Romance of the Fur Trade : 



[Jan. 



refined societies, but none more 
exclusive, for the outsider would 
be a bold man who dared in- 
trude upon the unhallowed 
revels. 

If St Louis was the prairie 
capital, Independence sprang 
up, some sixty miles to the 
westward, as St Louis's prairie 
port. Thence trains of the 
heavy "waggons, called prairie 
schooners, carried on the lucra- 
tive trade opened up with the 
Mexican settlements. They ran 
extraordinary risks, and required 
strong convoys. The country 
was perpetually raided by In 
dians, who had safe retreats in 
the western mountains. As the 
valuable cargoes were passing 
in transit, the Indians had no 
inducement to let them go by. 
They missed no opportunity of 
making captures, and massacres 
were of frequent occurrence. 
Moreover, capable guides were 
indispensable, for there were no 
regular tracks across the stony 
deserts, and in the dry season 
water was scarce. The wag- 
gons were in charge of Missouri 
teamsters, stout men of then- 
hands, but unskilled as children 
in prairie navigation and fron- 
tier fighting. So, just when the 
trapping business had gone to 
the bad, the trappers came into 
request as hunters and guards 
to the caravans. The services 
of such a man as Kit Carson 
were invaluable ; he made money 
fast, and had the wisdom to in 
vest it. Another famous band 
of brothers took to speculating 
as traders and employers of 
trappers with great success. 
William, familiarly known as 
Bill Bent, gave his name to two 
forts he built on the Arkansas, 



650 miles west of Leaven worth 
in Kansas. There he ruled as 
a sort of warden of the marches, 
and those outworks of civilisa- 
tion, resorted to by mountain 
men and Indians, were resting- 
places where the caravans broke 
their journeys. Parkman went 
as far south in the course of his 
wanderings. He gives a graphic 

dea of the rude manner of liv- 
ing, and of the utter absence 
of discipline and precautions in 
what was regarded as an ir- 
regular military post. In fact, 
the occupants trusted to their 
rifles, their scouts, and their 
luck. " The Pueblo was a 
wretched species of fort of most 
primitive construction." The 
slender stockades were breached 
or broken down, and the gate 
dangled loosely on its wooden 
hinges. "We saw the large 
Santa Fe waggons standing to- 
gether. . . . Richard conducted 
us to the state apartment, a 

mall mud room. . . . There 
were no chairs, but instead of 
them a number of chests and 
ooxes ranged round the walls." 
Other writers have described 
the scenes there. When the 
trappers were away on their 
hunts it was often dull enough. 
When they rallied for the au- 
tumn rendezvous there was in- 
cessant gambling, brawling, and 
fighting. In the palmy days, 
when " beaver was up," they 
would sometimes bring in a 
thousand dollars' worth of pel- 
tries. They never carried away 
a cent all had passed into the 
hands of the traders. Not a 
few of those trapping worthies ft 
were illustrious in their genera- 
tion, and have left their me- 
morials on the Western maps, 



1899.] 



The Mountain Men. 



51 



standing sponsors to streams, 
bluffs, and canons. Perhaps 
the most celebrated of those 
who had little more than the 
instinct of the sagacious brute 
was old Bill Williams. As the 
veteran mountaineer, he was 
painted to the life in Kuxton's 
'Far West.' Familiar with 
every rood of ground, he could 
have threaded any of the passes 
blindfold. A misanthrope, he 
preferred to hunt alone ; yet 
when the fancy took him to 
head a party, his followers con- 
fided themselves blindly to his 
guidance. Bill in his younger 
days had been a Methodist 
preacher in Missouri; latterly 
he believed firmly in the trans- 
migration of souls. After in- 
numerable, almost miraculous 
escapes, the pitcher was broken 
that had gone so often to the 
well, and the old man went 
under. An even more remark- 
able career was that of Rube 
Stevens. Kube's family had 
been massacred by Indians. 
They spared the boy, but cut 
out his tongue. He escaped to 
swear undying vengeance, and 
well he kept his vow. On one 
occasion, in a fight, three against 
thirty, after killing the chief of 
the savages in a desperate rough- 
and-tumble grapple, Rube fell 
into their hands. Tied to a 
pine -stem and confronted by 
a gigantic Indian with a scalp- 



ing-knife, his friends, who were 
looking on helplessly from their 
lurking-place, could not detect 
a quiver in his muscles. Of 
similar stuff were Uncle John 
Smith, Uncle Dick Wooton, 
Kit Carson, and many another. 
They played their lives as they 
staked their dollars, and it was 
their pride not to flinch when 
the game went against them. 
The chief characteristic of the 
trapper was the iron nerve that 
never failed, the presence of mind 
that never deserted him. Such 
as he was, he was always equal 
to himself, and was at his best 
in moments of imminent peril. 
What gave him his superiority 
over the Indian was his swift 
determination in extreme diffi- 
culties, which seemed indeed to 
sharpen his faculties to the ut- 
most. Absolutely indifferent 
to paralysing superstitions, he 
doubled the Indian sagacity and 
craft, with infinitely greater dash 
and daring. He was prompt to 
seize opportunities which the Red 
braves let slip. Embodying the 
hardihood and dauntless per- 
severance of the American char- 
acter, these trappers constituted 
themselves into a faculty of State 
surveyors, and were the verit- 
able makers of the empire of 
the West. The last of them 
had gone some thirty years ago, 
having pioneered the way for the 
gold-seekers and the ranchers. 



52 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A CHILD. 1 



CHAPTEB XV. AN EXILE IN REVOLT. 



WHAT surprises me most 
when I recall those days is my 
own rapid development. The 
tiny inarticulate pensive crea- 
ture of Ireland is, as if by magic, 
turned into a turbulent advent- 
urer, quick with initiation, with 
a ready and violent word for my 
enemies, whom I regarded as 
many, with a force of character 
that compelled children older 
than myself to follow me ; im- 
perious, passionate, and reck- 
less. How did it come about? 
It needed long months of un- 
happiness at home to make me 
revolt against the most drastic 
rule, and here it sufficed that a 
nun should doubt my word to 
turn me into a glorified outlaw. 

I confess that whatever the 
deficiencies of my home train- 
ing, I had not been brought up 
to think that anybody lied. My 
mother never seemed to think 
it possible that any of her chil- 
dren could lie. In fact, lying 
was the last vice of childhood 
I was acquainted with. You 
told the truth as you breathed, 
without thinking of it, for the 
simple reason that it could not 
possibly occur to you not to tell 
the truth. This was, I know, 
how I took it, though I did not 
reason so. I believe it was that 
villain Frank who broke a 
statue of an angel, and behind 
my back asserted that he had 
seen me do it. I had no objec- 
tion in the world to break forty 



statues if it came in the day's 
work, and so far from conceal- 
ing my misdeeds, I was safe to 
glory in any iniquity I could 
accomplish. So when charged 
with the broken angel, I said, 
saucily enough I have no doubt 
oh ! I have no wish to make 
light of the provocations of my 
enemies that "I hadn't done 
it." 

The Grand Inquisitor was a 
lovely slim young nun, with a 
dainty gipsy face, all brown 
and golden, full-cheeked, pink- 
lipped, black-browed. I see her 
still, the exquisite monster, with 
her long slim fingers, as deli- 
cate as ivory, and the perfidious 
witchery of her radiant dark 
smile. 

"You mustn't tell lies, An- 
gela. You were seen to break 
the statue." 

I stood up in vehement pro- 
test, words poured from me in 
a flood; they gushed from me 
like life-blood flowing from my 
heart, and in my passion I flung 
my books on the floor, and 
vowed I would never eat again, 
but that I'd die first, to make 
them all feel miserable because 
they had murdered me. And 
then the pretty Inquisitor car- 
ried me off, dragging me after 
her with that veiled brutality 
of gesture that marks your re- 
fined tyrant. I was locked up 
in the old community-room, then* 
reserved for guests, a big white 



1 Copyright, 1898, by Dodd, Mead & Co. in the United States of America. 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



53 



chamber, with a good deal of 
heavy furniture in it. 

f "You'll stay here, Angela, 
until I come to let you out," 
she hissed at me. 

I heard the key turn in the 
lock, and my heart was full of 
savage hate. I sat and brooded 
long on the vengeance I desired 
to wreak. Sister Esmeralda 
had said she would come at her 
good will to let me out. " Very 
well," thought I, wickedly ; 
"when she comes she'll not 
find it so easy to get in." 

My desire was to thwart her 
in her design to free me when 
she had a mind to. My object 
was to die of hunger alone and 
forsaken in that big white 
chamber, and so bring remorse 
and shame upon my tyrants. 
So, with laboured breath and 
slow impassioned movements, I 
dragged over to the door all the 
furniture I could move. In my 
ardour I accomplished feats I 
could never have aspired to in 
saner moments. A frail child 
of eight, I nevertheless wheeled 
armchairs, a sofa, a heavy writ- 
ing-table, every seat except a 
small stool, and even a cup- 
board, and these I massed care- 
fully at the door as an obstruc- 
tion against the entrance of my 
enemy. 

And then I sat down on the 
stool in the middle of the cham- 
ber, and tore into shreds with 
hands and teeth a new holland 
overall. Evening began to fall, 
and the light was dim. My 
passion had exhausted itself, 
and I was hungry and tired 

Vand miserable. Had any one 
else except Sister Esmeralda 
come to the door, I should have 
behaved differently, for I was a 



most manageable little creature 
when not under the influence 
of the terrible exasperation in- 
justice always provoked in me. 
But there she stood, after the 
repeated efforts of the gardener 
called up to force open my prison 
door, haughty, contemptuous, 
and triumphant, with me, poor 
miserable little me, surrounded 
by the shreddings of my holland 
pinafore, in her ruthless power. 

A blur of light, the anger of 
madness, the dreadful tense sen- 
sation of my helplessness, and 
before I knew what I had done 
I had caught up the stool and 
wildly hurled it at her trium- 
phant visage. Oh, how I hated 
Sister Esmeralda ! how I hated 
her ! 

The moment was one of ex- 
ceptional solemnity. I was not 
scolded, or slapped, or roughly 
treated. My crime was too 
appalling for such habitual 
treatment. One would think I 
already wore the black shroud 
of death, that the gallows stood 
in front of me, and beside it the 
coffin and the yawning grave, 
as my enemy, holding my feeble 
child's hand in a vice, marched 
me down the corridor into the 
dormitory, where a lay sister 
was commanded to fetch my 
strong boots, my hat and cloak. 

The children were going joy- 
ously off to supper, with here 
and there, I can imagine, an 
awed whisper in my concern, 
as the lay sister took my hand 
in hers ; and in silence by her 
side, in the grey twilight, I 
walked from the Ivies beyond 
the common down to the town 
convent, where only the mothers 
dwelt. I knew something dread- 
ful was going to happen to me, 



54 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



and being tired of suffering and 
tired of my short troubled life, 
I hoped even then that it would 
prove death. I did not care. 
It was so long since I had 
thought it worth while caring ! 

And so I missed the lovely 
charm of that silent walk 
through the unaccustomed twi- 
light, with quaint little shops 
getting ready their evening il- 
lumination, and free and happy 
persons walking to and fro, full 
of the joy of being, full of the 
bliss of freedom. My heart 
was dead to hope, my intel- 
ligence, weary from excess of 
excitement and pain, was dull 
to novelty. 

In the town convent I was 
left awhile in aching solitude 
in the brown parlour, with its 
pious pictures and big crucifix. 
I strained eye and ear through 
the silent dusk, and was re- 
lieved when the superioress 
a sort of female pontiff, whom 
we children saw in reverential 
stupefaction on scarce feast- 



days, when she addressed us 
from such heights as Moses on 
the mountain might have ad-j 
dressed a group of sparrows 
with two other nuns entered. 
It looked like death, and al- 
ready the heart within me was 
dead. I know so well now how 
I looked : white, blue - veined, 
blue -lipped, sullen, and indif- 
ferent. 

My wickedness was past ser- 
monising. I was simply led 
up-stairs to a brown cell, and 
here the red-cheeked lay sister, 
a big brawny creature, stripped 
me naked. Naked, mind, though 
convent rules forbid the whip- 
ping of girls. I was eight, ex- 
ceedingly frail and delicate. 
The superioress took my head 
tightly under her arm, and the 
brawny red-cheeked lay sister 
scourged my back with a three- 
pointed whip till the blood 
gushed from the long stripes, 
and I fainted. I never uttered 
a groan, such were my pride and 
resolute spirit of endurance. 



CHAPTER XVI. MY FIRST CONFESSION. 



The sequel is enfolded in mys- 
tery. Was I long unconscious ? 
Was I long ill ? Was there any 
voice among the alarmed nuns 
lifted in my favour? Or was 
the secret kept among the 
superioress, the lay sister who 
thrashed me, and the doctor? 
As a Catholic in a strong and 
bigoted Protestant centre, in 
the pay of a Catholic com- 
munity, it is not unreasonable 
to suppose him anxious to avoid 
a scandal. For outside there 
was the roaring lion, the ter- 
rible member for Lysterby, 



seeking the Catholics he might 
devour ! That satanic creature 
who dreamed at night of Ty- 
burn, and, if he could, would 
have proscribed every priest 
and nun of the realm ! Pic- 
ture the hue and cry in Par- 
liament and out of it, if it 
were known that a baby girl 
had been thrashed by strong, 
virile hands, as with a Russian 
knout, with the ferocity of 
bloodthirsty jailers instead of* 
the gentleness of holy women 
striving to inculcate precepts 
of virtue and Christian charity 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



55 



in the breast of a tiny repro- 
bate ! And ladies, too, devoted 
to the worship of mercy and of 
Mary, the maiden of sorrow, the 
mild mother of humanity. 

I know I lay long in bed, 
that my wounds, deep red open 
stripes, were dressed into scars 
by lint and sweet oil and herbs. 
The doctor, a cheery fellow with 
a Scottish name, came and sat 
by my bedside, and gave me 
almond -drops, and begged me 
repeatedly "to look up." The 
pavement outside was rough, 
the little city street was nar- 
row, and the flies rumbling past 
from the station to the Craven 
Arms shook my bed. The noise 
was novel, and excited me. I 
thought of my imaginary friend 
of the Ivies, the white lady, and 
wondered if any one had ever 
thrashed her. The cook, Sister 
Joseph, from time to time stole 
up-stairs and offered me, by way 
of consolation, maybe a bribe, 
a Shrewsbury biscuit, a jam- 
tart, a piece of seed-cake. 

Once the pain of my lacerated 
back subsided I was not at all 
bored. It was good to lie in 
a fresh white bed and listen 
dreamily to the discreet mur- 
murs of a provincial town in 
the quiet con vent -house, have 
nothing to do, no scrapes to get 
into, hear no scolding voices, 
and have plenty of nice things 
to eat, after the long famine of 
nine interminable months. 

I do not remember when it 
was she first came to me. She 
was a slim, oldish nun, with a 
white delicate visage and eyes 
full of a wistful sadness, neither 
blue nor grey. Her voice was 
very low, and gave me the same 
intense pleasure that the soft 



touch of her thin small hands 
thrilled me with. She was 
called Mother Aloysius, and 
painted pictures for the chapel 
and for the convent. Did she 
know what had happened, and 
had she taken the community's 
debt to me upon her lean shoul- 
ders? Or was I merely for her 
a sick and naughty little girl, 
to whom she was drawn by 
sympathy ? 

She never spoke of my whip- 
ping, nor did I. Perhaps with 
the unconscious delicacy of sen- 
sitive childhood I divined that 
it would pain her. More prob- 
ably still, I was only too glad 
to be enfolded in the mild 
warmth of her unquestioning 
tenderness. Wickedness dropped 
from me as a wearisome gar- 
ment, and, divested of its weight, 
I trotted after her heels like a 
little lapdog. She took me with 
her everywhere : into the big 
garden where she tended the 
flowers, and where she allowed 
me to water and dig myself out 
of breath, fondly persuaded that 
the fate of the flowers next year 
depended upon my exertions ; 
to her work-room, where in 
awed admiration I watched her 
paint, and held her brushes and 
colours for her; to the chapel 
where she changed the flowers, 
and where I gathered the stalks 
into little hills and swept them 
into my pinafore. And all the 
time I talked, ceaselessly, volu- 
bly, not of past sufferings, nor 
of present pain, but of the 
things that surprised and per- 
plexed me, of the countless 
things I wanted to do, of the 
tales of Tyburn and the white 
lady. 

When I was well enough to 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



go back to daily woe and in- 
sufficient food, I was dressed 
in hat and jacket and strong 
boots, and while I stood in the 
hall the awful superioress issued 
from the community-room and 
looked at me coldly. 

"You have had your lesson, 
Angela. You will be a good 
child in future, I hope," she 
said, and touched my shoulder 
with a lifeless gesture. 

The mischievous impulse of 
sauoy speech and wicked glance 
died when I encountered the 
gentle prayer of my new friend's 
faded eyes. I was only a baby, 
but I understood as well as if 
I had been a hundred what 
those kind and troubled eyes 
said, glancing at me behind the 
woman she must have known I 
hated. "Be good, dear child; 
be silent, be respectful. For- 
give, forget, for my sake." I 
swallowed the angry words I 
longed to utter on the top of 
a sob, and went and held up 
my cheek to Mother Aloysius. 

"You're a brave little girl, 
Angela," she said, softly. 
" You'll see, if you are good, 
that reverend mother will let 
you come down and spend a 
nice long day with me soon 
again; and I'll take you to 
water the flowers and fill the 
vases in the chapel, and watch 
me paint up-stairs. Good-bye." 

She kissed me on both cheeks, 
not in the fleshless kiss of the 
nun, but with dear human 
warmth of lips, and her fingers 
lingered tenderly about my 
head. Did she suspect the sac- 
rifice I had made to her kind- 
ness? the fierce and wrathful 
words I had projected to hurl 
at the head of the superioress, 



and that I had kept back to 
please her? 

At the Ivies I maintained a 
steadfast silence upon what had 
happened. I cannot now trace 
the obscure reasons of my si- 
lence, which must have pleased 
the nuns, for nobody ever knew 
about my severe whipping. 
Thanks to the beneficent influ- 
ences of my new friend, I was 
for a while a model of all the 
virtues. I studied hard, ab- 
sorbed pages of useful know- 
ledge in the 'Child's Guide,' 
and mastered the abstruse con- 
tents of Cardinal Wiseman's 
'History of England.' At the 
end of a month, to the amaze- 
ment of everybody and to my 
own dismay, I was rewarded 
with a medal of good conduct, 
and formally enrolled in that 
virtuous body, the Children of 
the Angels, and wore a medal 
attached to a brilliant green 
ribbon. 

This transient period of virtue, 
felt no doubt by all around me 
to be precarious and unstable, 
was deemed the fitting moment 
for my first confession. What 
a baby of eight can have to 
confess I know not. The value 
of such an institution for the 
infantine conscience escapes me. 
But there can be no question of 
its enormous sensational interest 
for us all. Two new children 
had made their appearance 
since my tempestuous arrival. 
They belonged to the band, as 
well as an idiot girl two years 
older than I, and now deemed 
wise enough to crave pardon 
for sins she could not possibly j 
commit. We carefully studied 
the 'Examination of Conscience,' 
and spelt out the particularly 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



57 



big words with a thrill : they 
looked nice mysterious sins, the 
sort of crimes we felt we would 
gladly commit if we had the 
chance. 

I went about sombre and 
dejected, under the conviction 
that I must have sinned the 
sin against the Holy Ghost, 
and Polly Evans wondered if 
adultery figured upon the list 
of her misdoings. She was sure, 
however, that she had not de- 
frauded the labourer of his daily 
wage, whatever that might be, 
for the simple reason that she 
had never met a labourer. I 
was tortured with a fresh sen- 
sational doubt. My foster- 
mother's cousin at Kildare was 
a very nice labourer, who often 
had given me sweets. Could I, 
in a moment of temporary aber- 
ration, have defrauded him of 
his wage ? And then adultery ! 
If Polly was sure she had com- 
mitted adultery, might I not 
also have so deeply offended 
against heaven? I had not 
precisely killed anybody, but 
had I not desired to kill Sister 
Esmeralda the day I threw the 
stool at her ? 

And so we travelled consci- 
entiously, like humble, but, in 
the very secret depths of our 
being, self - admiring pilgrims, 
over the weary and profitless 
road of self-examination, and 
assured ourselves with a fervent 
thrill that we were indeed miser- 
able shiners. "I'll never get 
into a passion again," I swore 
to Polly Evans, like a monstrous 
little Puritan, and before an 
' hour had passed was thirsting 
for the blood of some offender. 
I even went so far as to in- 
clude Sister Esmeralda and 



Frank in my offer of general 
amnesty to humanity ; and in- 
dited at some nun's suggestion 
a queer epistle to my mother, 
something in the tone the prodi- 
gal son from afar might have 
used writing to his father when 
he first decided to abandon the 
husks and swine, &c. I boldly 
announced my intention of for- 
saking the path of wickedness, 
with a humble confession of 
hitherto having achieved sup- 
remacy in that nefarious king- 
dom, and of walking henceforth 
with the saints. 

I added a practical postscript, 
that I was always very hungry, 
and stated with charming can- 
dour that I did not like any 
of the nuns except Mother 
Aloysius, which was rather a 
modification of the exuberant 
burst of virtue expressed on the 
first page. This postscript was 
judiciously altered past recogni- 
tion, and I was ordered to copy 
it out : "I am very happy at 
Lysterby. All the dear nuns 
are so kind to me. We shall 
have a little feast soon. Please, 
dear mamma, send me some 
money." 

If the money ever came, it 
was naturally confiscated by the 
dear nuns. It was not money 
we mites needed, but bread-and- 
butter and a cup of good milk, 
or a plate of simple sustaining 
porridge. However, for the mo- 
ment the excitement of confes- 
sion sustained us. Having com- 
municated to each other the 
solemn impression that we had 
broken all the Commandments, 
committed the seven deadly sins, 
and made mockery of the four 
cardinal virtues, the next thing 
to decide was to what length of 



58 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



repentance we were bound to 
go. Polly Evans' enthusiasm 
was so exalted that she yearned 
to follow the example of the 
German emperor we had read 
of who walked, or crawled on 
his knees, I forget which, to 
Borne, and made a public con- 
fession to the Pope. But this 
we felt to be an immodest flight 
of fancy in a little girl who 
had done nothing worth speak- 
ing of. She was like my Kil- 
dare companion Mary Jane, 
who constantly saw herself in 
a personal scuffle with Queen 
Victoria. 

When the great day came we 
were bidden to stay in the chapel 
after the rest, and then were 
taken down to the town convent, 
with instructions to keep our 
minds fixed upon the awful 
sacrament of confession as we 
walked two and two through 
the streets. 

"Remember, children," said 
that infamous Sister Esmer- 
alda, prettier than ever, as she 
fixed me with a deadly glance, 
" to tell a lie in the confessional 
box is to tell a lie to the Holy 
Ghost. You may be struck 
dead for it." 

Did she mean that for me? 
Oh, why had I so rashly vowed 
myself to a life of virtue ? Why 
had I so precipitously chosen 
the companionship and example 
of the saints ? Why had I read 
the lives of St Louis of Gonzago, 
St Stanislaus of Kotska, and 
other lamb -like creatures, and 
in a fit of admiration sworn to 
resemble them ? since all these 
good resolutions debarred me 
from flinging another stool at 
that lovely hostile visage. But 
having elected momentarily to 



play the part of a shocking 
little prig, I swallowed my 
wrath, with a compunctious 
sensation, and felt a glow all 
over to think I was already 
so much of a saint. 

In the convent chapel, with 
our throbbing hearts in our 
mouths, we knelt, a diminutive 
row, in our Sunday uniform (I 
have worn so many convent 
uniforms that I am rather mixed 
about them, and cannot remem- 
ber which was blue on Sunday 
and which was black, but the 
Lysterby Sunday uniform I 
know was black). Polly Evans 
was the first to disappear, swal- 
lowed up in the awful box. 
She issued forth, tremulous and 
wide-eyed, and I followed her, 
pallid and quaking. The square 
grating was closed, and the 
green curtain enfolded me in 
a terrific dusk. I felt sick and 
cold with fright. What was 
going to happen ? Could some- 
thing spring suddenly out and 
clutch me ? Was the devil be- 
hind me? Had my guardian 
angel forsaken me ? I had read 
a great deal of late about "a 
yawning abyss," " a black pit," 
a "bottomless hole." Was I 
going to tell a lie to the Holy 
Ghost unknowing, and so be 
struck dead like, like ? 

The square slid swiftly back, 
and I saw a dim man's profile 
through the grating. Had I 
seen Father More clear before 
me, my fears would instantly 
have been quelled, for he was 
a graceful, aristocratic, soft- 
voiced man, quick to captivate 
little children by his winning > 
smile. But that dim formless 
thing behind the grating, what 
was it ? They told me the 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



59 



priest in the confessional was 
God. The statement was not 
such that any childish imagin- 
ation could grasp. The sick- 
ness of terror overcame me, and 



I, whom the rough sea of the 
Irish Channel had not harmed, 
fell down in an abject fit of 
nausea that left me prostrate 
for days. 



CHAPTER XVII. THE CHEISTMAS HAMPERS. 



Nobody but a hungry and 
excitable child, exiled from home 
and happiness, bereft of toys 
and kisses, can conceive the mad 
delight of receiving a Christmas 
hamper at school. Picture, if 
you can, a minute regiment 
with eager faces pasted against 
the frost-embroidered window- 
panes, watching a van drive 
up the Ivies' path, knowing 
that a hamper is coming for 
some fortunate creature but 
for whom? 

Outside the land is all bridal 
white, and the lovely snow looks 
like deep-piled white velvet upon 
the lawn, and like the most del- 
icate lace upon the branches. 
We see distinctly the driver, 
with a big good-humoured face 
of the hue of cochineal under 
his snow -covered hat, and he 
nods cheerfully to his enthusi- 
astic admirers. He would be 
a churl indeed to remain un- 
moved by our vociferous salu- 
tations, as we stamp our feet, 
and clap our hands, and shout 
with all the force of our infant 
lungs. 

For the Christmas hamper, 
announced by letter from my 
stepfather, meant for me the 
unknown. But every Christ- 
mas afterwards I was wiser, 
and not for that less glad. A 
hamper meant a turkey, a 
goose, a large plum-cake with 
Angela in beautiful pink letters 



upon the snow - frost ground. 
It meant boxes of prunes, of 
sweets, of figs, lots of oranges 
and apples, hot sherry and 
water, hot port and water in 
the dormitory of a cold night, 
all sorts of surprising toys and 
picture-books. But it did not 
imply by any means as much 
of those good things (I speak 
of the eatables) for me as my 
parents fancied. The nuns 
generously helped themselves to 
the lion's share of fruit and wine 
and fowls. 

But the cake, best joy of all, 
was left to us untouched, and 
also the sweets. The big round 
beauty was placed in front of 
me; with a huge knife, a lay 
sister sliced it up, and I, with 
a proud, important air, sent 
round the plate among hungry 
and breathless infants, who had 
each one already devoured her 
slice with her eyes before touch- 
ing it with her lips. 

And at night in the dormi- 
tory, all those bright eyes and 
flushed little faces, as we laughed 
and shouted and danced, dis- 
graceful small topers that we 
were, drinking my stepfather's 
sherry and port -idrinking our- 
selves into rosy paradises, where 
children lived upon plum-cake 
and hot negus. 

Oh, the joy of those Christ- 
mas excesses, after the compul- 
sory sobriety of long ascetic 



60 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



months ! As each child received 
a hamper, not quite so bril- 
liantly and curiously filled as 
mine, for my stepfather was a 
typical Irishman in the matter 
of hospitality, of generosity, he 
always erred on the right side 
for others, and was as popular 
as a prince of legend, for a 
fortnight we revelled in a land 
of toffee and turkey, of sugared 
cakes and plum - pudding, of 
crackers and sweets, and apples 
and oranges and bewitching 
toys. Like heroes refreshed, we 
were then able to return to the 
frugality of daily fare though, 
alas ! I fear this fugitive plenty 
and bliss made us early ac- 
quainted with the poet's suffer- 
ing in days of misery by the 
remembering of happier things. 
This was my candid epistle, 
soon after Christmas, des- 
patched to Kildare: 

" MY DERE EVE YD AY MAMA, 
i dont like skule a bit. i cant 
du wat i like, i dont have enuf 
tu et. Nun of us have enuf tu 
et. We had enuf at crismas 
when everyboddy sent us lots 
of things. We were very glad 
i had luvly things it was so 
nice but i dont like skule, its 
horid, theres a horid boy here, 
i bet him when he called me a 
savage. Sister Esmeralda said 
it first i dont like her. She 
teches me. tell Mary Jane to 
give my black dog 6 kisses, i 
want to go home i like yu and 
Louie and Mary Jane and Bessy 
the apel woman i want to clim 
tres like Johny Burke your 
affecshunat little girl 

"ANGELA." 

When this frank outpouring 



was subjected to revision, it 
ran: 

"MY DEAR FOSTER-MAMMA, 
I am very happy here with 
the dear nuns. I hope I shall 
remain with them a long while. 
We have such fun always. We 
learn ever so many nice things. 
We love our dear mistress, 
Sister Esmeralda. Reverend 
Mother had a cold, and we all 
prayed so hard for her, and now 
she is better. I want some 
money for her feast-day. We 
are going to give her a nice 
present. We had a play and a 
tea - party. Lady Wilhelmina 
Osborne's little girl come over 
from the Abbey. I hope you 
are quite well. With love, 
your affectionate 

"ANGELA." 

All our mistresses were not 
like Sister Esmeralda, a Spanish 
inquisitor in a shape of insidi- 
ous charm, nor a burly brute 
like the lay sister, who had so 
piously welted my naked back, 
nor a chill and frozen despot 
like the pallid superioress. 
Mother Aloysius was, of course, 
a far-off stained-glass vision, a 
superlative rapture in devotion, 
not suitable for daily wear, 
a recompense after the pro- 
longed austerities of virtue and 
self-denial, a soaring acquaint- 
ance with ecstatic admiration. 
But on a lower plane there 
were some younger nuns we 
found tolerable and sympa- 
thetic. There was Sister Anne, 
who taught us to play at snow- 
balls, and took a ball on her 
nose with companionable hum- 
our in the midst of our shriek- 
ing approbation. There was 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



61 



Sister Ignatius, who inspired 
us with terpsichorean ambition 
by dancing a polka with one of 
the big girls down the long 
study hall, to the amiable mur- 
mur of 

" Can you dance a polka? Yes, I can. 
Up and down the room with a nice 
young man " ; 

or upon a more imaginative 
flight 

" My mother said that I never should 
Play with the gypsies in the wood ; 
If I did, she would say, 
Naughty girl to disobey." 

Her great feat was, however, 
the Varsovienne, which she told 
us was a Polish dance, and that 
Poland was a bleak and unfor- 
tunate country on the confines 
of Russia. Ever afterwards I 
associated the sprightly Sister 
Ignatius with a polar bear, 



especially when I watched her 
dance the "Varsovienne," and 
fling her head over her shoulders 
in a most laughable way, just 
as I imagined a bear would do 
if he took to dancing the dance 
of Poland. 

Mother Catherine is a less 
agreeable memory. I see her 
still, a tall gaunt woman in coif 
and black veil, with austere grey 
eyes. She used to watch us in 
the refectory, and whenever a 
greedy infant kept a rare tooth- 
some morsel for the wind-up of 
a frugal meal, Mother Catherine 
would sweep down and confis- 
cate the reserved luxury. " My 
child, you will make an act of 
mortification for the good of 
your soul." I leave you to 
imagine the child's dislike of 
her immortal soul, as the goody 
was carried off. 



CHAPTER XVIII. ME PARKER THE DANCING-MASTER. 



The joy of my second year 
at Lysterby was Mr Parker the 
dancing-master. Was he evoked 
from pantomime and grotesque 
legend by the sympathetic 
genius of Sister Ignatius ? We 
were all solemnly convened, in 
our best shoes and frocks, to a 
great meeting in the big hall to 
make the acquaintance of our 
dancing-master, and learn the 
polite steps of society. A wizen 
cross - looking little creature 
stood at the top of the long 
room, and as we entered in file, 
all agog, and ready enough, 
heaven knows, to shriek for 
nothing, from sheer animal 
spirits, he bowed to us, as I 
suppose they bowed in the good 
old days of Queen Anne. For 



Queen Anne was his weakness. 
I wonder why, since she was 
neither the queen of grace nor 
of beauty. 

I recall the gist of his first 
speech : " We are now, young 
ladies, about to study one of 
the most necessary and the 
most serious of arts, the art of 
dancing. It is the art of danc- 
ing that makes ladies and 
gentlemen of us all. In a ball- 
room the awkward, those who 
cannot dance, are in disgrace. 
Nobody minds them, nobody 
admires them. They have not 
the tone of society. They are 
poor creatures, who, for all 
society cares, might never have 
been born. What it behoves 
you, young ladies, is to acquire 



62 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



the tone of society from your 
earliest years, and it is only by 
a steady practice of the art of 
dancing that you may hope to 
acquire it. Practice, young 
ladies, makes perfect remem- 
ber that." 

Ever afterwards, his first 
question, before beginning each 
week's lesson, was: "What does 
practice do, young ladies ? " and 
we were all expected to reply in 
a single ringing voice : " Makes 
perfect, Mr Parker." Children 
are heartless satirists, and the 
follies of poor little Mr Parker 
filled us with wicked glee. 

I see him still, unconscious 
tiny clown, gathering up in a 
delicate grasp the tails of his 
black coat to show us how a 
lady curtseyed in the remote 
days of Queen Anne. And 
mincing across the polished 
floor, he would say, as he 
daintily picked his steps : " The 
lady enters the ball-room on the 
tip of her toes so ! " Picture, 
I pray you, the comic appear- 
ance of any woman who dared 
to enter a ball-room as Mr Par- 
ker walked across our dancing- 
hall ! Society would stand still 
to gape. He minced to right, 
he minced to left, he minced in 
and out of the five positions, 
and then with eyes ecstatically 
closed, he would seize his violin, 
and play the homely air of 
"Nora Creina," as he chassded 
up and down the floor for our 
delectation, singing the while 

" Bend and rise-a Nora Creina, 
Rise on your toes-a Nora Creina, 
Chassez to the right-a Nora Creina, 
And then to the left-a Nora Creina." 

In his least inspired moments, 
he addressed us in the first posi- 



tion; but whenever he soared 
aloft on the wings of imagina- 
tion, he stood in the glory of 
the fifth. In that position he 
never failed to recite to us the 
imposing tale of his successes 
in the "reception halls" of the 
Duchess of Leamington and the 
Marchioness of Stoke. Once he 
went so far as to exhibit to us 
a new dance he had composed 
expressly for his illustrious friend 
the duchess. 

"My dears, that dance will 
be all the rage next spring in 
London, you will see." 

He was quite aware that we 
never would see, having nothing 
on earth to do with the London 
season. But the assertion mys- 
tified us, and enchanted him. 

"Thus my hand lightly re- 
poses on the waist of her Grace, 
her fingers just touch my shoul- 
ders, and, one, two, three 
boom ! " he was gliding round 
the room, clasping lightly an 
imaginary duchess in his arms, 
in beatific unconsciousness of 
the exquisite absurdity of his 
appearance and action, and we 
children followed his circumvo- 
lutions with glances magnified 
and brightened by mirth and 
wonderment. 

The irresistible Mr Parker had 
a knavish trick of keeping us on 
our good behaviour by a delusive 
promise persistently unfulfilled. 
Every Tuesday, after saluting 
us in the fashion of the eight- 
eenth century and demanding 
from us an immense simultan- 
eous curtsey of Queen Anne, 
holding our skirts in an ex- 
travagant semicircle and trail- 
ing our little bent bodies back- 
ward and upward upon the most 
pointed of toes, he would rap the 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



63 



" table with his bow, clear his 
throat, adjust his white tie, 
f straighten himself, and, with a 
hideous grin he doubtless deemed 
captivating, he would address us 
inclusively 

"Young ladies, it is my in- 
tention to bring you a little 
confectionery next Tuesday ; 
and now, if you please, atten- 
tion! and answer. What does 
practice do ? " 

In vain we shouted our cus- 
tomary response with more than 
our customary conviction; the 
confectionery was always for 
next Tuesday, and never, alas ! 
for to-day. With longing eyes 
we watched the slightest move- 
ment of the master towards his 
pocket. He never produced 
anything but his handkerchief, 
and when he doubled in two to 
wish us " O reevoyer," he never 
omitted to say 

"To-day I did not pass by 
the confectioner's shop ; but it 
will certainly be for next Tues- 
day." 

For a long time he took us 
in, as other so-called magicians 
have taken in simpletons as 
great as we. We believed he 
had a secret understanding with 
the devil, for only to the power 
of evil could we attribute a 
quickness of apprehension such 
as he boasted. He would stand 
with his back to us, playing 
away at his violin, while we 
chass^ed and croisdd and heaven 
knows what else 

" Now, my senses are so 
acutely alive to the impropriety 
of a false step, young ladies, that 

on with my back turned to 
you, I shall be able to tell which 
of you has erred without seeing 
her." 



Sure enough he always 
pounced on the bungler, and 
never failed to switch round 
his bow violently and hit her 
toes. How was it done ? Simply 
enough, one of us discovered 
quite by accident. There was 
a big mahogany press, as finely 
polished as a mirror, and in 
front of this the master planted 
himself. The rows of dancers, 
from crown to heel, were as 
clear to him as in a glass. By 
such simple means may a ter- 
rible reputation be acquired. 
For months had Mr Parker 
shabbily usurped the fame of 
a magician. 

In his quality of master he 
could permit himself a brutal- 
ity of candour not usually shown 
by his sex to us without the 
strictest limits of intimacy. 
There was a big girl of six- 
teen, very stout, very tall, 
squarely built, with poultry - 
yard writ in broad letters over 
her whole dull and earthy form. 
An excellent creature, I have no 
doubt, though I knew nothing 
whatever about her, being half 
her age, which in school con- 
stitutes a difference of some- 
thing approaching half -a- cen- 
tury. Her name was Margaret 
Twycross, and she came from 
Shakespeare's town. As befits 
a master of the graceful art, 
Mr Parker's preference was 
given to the slim and lovely 
nymph, and such a square em- 
blem of the soil as Margaret 
Twycross would naturally pro- 
voke his impatient contempt. 
Possibly she merited all the 
vicious rage he showered on 
her poor big feet, pathetically 
evident, emerging from skirts 
that just reached her ankles. 



64 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



But with my larger experience 
and knowledge of his sex, I am 
inclined to doubt it, and attrib- 
ute his vindictiveness to a 
mere masculine hatred of ugli- 
ness in woman rather than to 
the teacher's legitimate wrath. 
Hardly a Tuesday went by but 
he sent the inoffensive, great, 
meek creature into floods of 
tears ; and while she wept and 
sobbed, looking less lovely than 
ever in her sorrow, he would 
snarl and snicker at her, imi- 
tate her jeeringly, and cast 
obloquy on her unshapely feet. 

"A ploughboy would be dis- 
graced by such feet as Miss 
Twy cross's," he would hiss 
across at her, and then rap 
them wickedly with his bow. 

The art of dancing, Mr Parker 
proved to us, is insufficient to 
make a gentleman of its adept. 
Once his unsleeping fury against 
the unhappy girl carried him to 
singular lengths. He bade us 
all be seated, and then, with 
his customary inflated and fool- 
ish air, began to address us 
upon the power of art. With 
art you can achieve anything, 
you can even lend grace to the 
ungraceful. 

" I will now choose from your 
ranks the most awkward, the 
most pitiable and clumsy of her 
sex. The young lady unassisted 
cannot dance a single step ; but 
such is my consummate skill, so 
finished is my art, that I shall 
actually succeed in bestowing 
some of my own grace as a 
dancer upon her. Advance, 
Miss Twy cross." 

I leave you to picture the sen- 
sations of the unfortunate so 
addressed and so described. She 
advanced slowly, square and sod- 



den, but with an unmistakable 
look of anguish in her poor 
harassed eyes, of a blue as 
dull and troubled as her com- 
plexion; and a certain twitch- 
ing of her thin tight lips was 
eloquent enough of her unpro- 
voked hurt. 

Mr Parker, with his simpering 
disgusted air of ill-natured little 
dandy, flourished a perfumed 
handkerchief about his face, to 
sustain his affronted nerves, no 
doubt, placed an arm gingerly 
about the flat square waist, 
clasped her outer hand in evi- 
dent revulsion, and began to 
scamper and drag her round the 
room in the steps of a wild 
schotische. Most of us tittered 
could we be expected to mea- 
sure the misery of the girl, 
while nature made us excruciat- 
ingly alive to the absurdity of 
her tormentor? 

As a girl myself I have often 
laughed in recalling the inci- 
dent ; but I own that the brute 
should have been kicked out of 
the establishment for such an 
object-lesson in the art of com- 
municating grace. As for his 
boasted achievement, even we 
babies could perfectly under- 
stand that there was not much 
to choose between his jerky 
waxwork steps and the heavy 
stamp of his partner. She at 
least 'was true to nature and 
moved as she looked, an honest 
cow -like creature, whom you 
were at liberty not to admire, 
but who offered you no reason 
to despise her. While he, her 
vindictive enemy, mean un- 
natural little body, sheathing a- 
base, affected, silly little soul, 
fiddling and scraping away his 
days which were neither digni- 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



65 



fied nor manly, he offered him- 
self to the unlimited contempt 
( >f even such microscopic human- 
ity as ours. We felt he was not 
a man with the large capacity 
of manhood, but a disgraced and 
laughable thing, a puppet mov- 
ing upon springs and speak- 
ing artificially, manufactured as 
dolls are, for the delectation of 
little folk. 

We enjoyed Mr Parker, but 
we never regarded him as more 
human than the clown or the 



harlequin of the pantomime. 
We imitated him together ; we 
played at him, as we played at 
soldiers or fairies or social enter- 
tainment. Had we learnt that 
he was dead or ill, or driven to 
the poorhouse, it would have 
been just as if we had heard 
such news of harlequin, or heard 
that Peeping Tom had fallen 
from his window and smashed 
his head. Mr Parker was not 
a person at the Ivies ; he was a 
capital joke. 



CHAPTER XIX. EPISCOPAL PROTECTION. 



The succeeding years in Lys- 
terby are blurred. Here and 
there I recall a vivid episode, 
an abiding impression. Papa 
came over with one of my elder 
sisters. They arrived at night, 
and I, half asleep, was dressed 
hurriedly and taken down to 
the parlour. A big warm wave 
of delight overwhelmed me as 
my stepfather caught me in his 
arms and whisked me up above 
his fair head. It was heaven 
to meet his affectionate blue 
eyes dancing so blithely to the 
joy of my own. Seated upon 
his shoulder, I touched a mole 
on his broad forehead, and 
cried, as if I had made a dis- 
covery 

"You've got the same little 
ball on your forehead, papa, 
that you had when you used to 
come down to Kildare." 

Bidding me good -night, he 
promised to come for me early 
next day, and told me I should 
Asleep in the Craven Arms, and 
spend two whole days driving 
about the country with him. 
How comforting the well-filled 

VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



table, the cold ham, the bacon 
and eggs at breakfast, the bread 
and marmalade, all served on a 
spotless table-cloth, and outside 
the smell of the roses and honey- 
suckle, and the exciting rumble 
of flies up and down the narrow 
street ! I was so happy that 
I quite forgot my woes, and did 
not remember to complain of 
my enemies. There was so much 
to eat, to see, to think of, to 
feel, to say ! I not only wanted 
to know all about everybody at 
home, but I wanted to see and 
understand all about me. 

In the Abbey we saw Van- 
dyke's melancholy Charles, and 
it was a rare satisfaction for 
me to be able to tell how he 
had been beheaded. At the 
great Castle we saw Queen 
Elizabeth's bed with the jewel- 
wrought quilt, and my romantic 
elder sister, fresh from read- 
ing 'The Last of the Barons,' 
passionately kissed the King- 
maker's armour. She told us 
the thrilling tale as we sat in 
the famous cedar avenue, when 
the earl's daughter, all sum- 
E 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



mery in white muslin and 
Leghorn hat, passed us with 
her governess, and although she 
was a fresh slip of a girl just 
like my sister, because of her 
name we felt that a living 
breath of history had brushed 
us. She was not for us an 
insignificant girl of our own 
century, but something belong- 
ing to the King-maker, a breath- 
ing memory of the Wars of the 
Koses, the sort of creature the 
dreadful Richard might have 
wooed in his hideous youth. 

And then at night, in the old 
inn, we discovered two big illus- 
trated volumes about Josephine 
and Napoleon. I had not got 
so far in history as Napoleon, 
and here was an unexplored 
world, whose fairy was my 
voluble and imaginative sister. 
With a touch of her wand she 
unrolled before my enthralled 
vision scenes of the French Re- 
volution and the passionate loves 
of Bonaparte and the young 
Viscountess de Beauharnais. I 
wish every child I know two 
such nights as I passed, listen- 
ing to this evocative creature 
revive so vividly one of the 
intensest and most dramatic 
hours of history. Thanks to 
her eloquence, to her genius, 
Napoleon, vile monster, became 
one of my gods. I think the 
thrilling tale she read me was 
by Miss Mulock. Impossible 
now to recall the incidents that 
sufficed to turn succeeding weeks 
into an exquisite dream. Who, 
for instance, was the beauteous 
creature in amber and purple 
velvet, with glittering diamonds, 
that usurped such a fantastic 
place in the vague aspirations 
of those days ? And the lovely 



Polish countess Napoleon loved ? 
And those letters from Egypt 
to Josephine, and Josephine's, 
shawls and flowers, and the 
ghost-stories of Malmaison, and 
the last adieu the night before 
the divorce. Hard would it be 
to say whom I most loved and 
deeply pitied, the unadmirable 
Josephine or the admirable queen 
of Prussia. My sister read aloud, 
as we sat up in bed together, I 
holding the candle, and gazing 
in awe and delight, wet-eyed, at 
the coarse engravings. 

Other sisters came in quick 
succession, but they remained 
strangers to me. They fawned 
on Sister Esmeralda, whom I 
hated : they were older and 
wiser than I ; they aspired to 
the ribbon of the Children of 
Mary, and walked submis- 
sively with the authorities of 
Church and State. They played 
"II Baccio" on the piano, and 
a mysterious duet called the 
" Duet in D." The only sister I 
remember of those days as an in- 
dividual was Pauline, who had 
opened to me a world of treas- 
ures. At school, she naturally 
forsook me for girls of her own 
age; but on play-days, when 
we were free to do as we liked 
all day, she sometimes conde- 
scended to recall my existence, 
and told me with an extraordi- 
nary vivacity of recital the 
stories of 'East Lynne,' 'The 
Black Dwarf,' 'Rob Roy,' and 
'Kenilworth.' 

But for the rest she was a 
great and glorious creature who 
dwelt aloft, and possessed the 

f olden key of the chambers o 
ction. My immediate friend 
was Polly Evans, whose mam- 
ma once took me to tea in an 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



67 



old farmhouse along the Kenil- 
worth road. 

There were strawberries and 
cream on the table ; and de- 
licious little balls of butter in 
blue-and-white dishes, and ra- 
dishes, which I had never before 
eaten; and the air was dense 
with the smell of the flowers on 
table, sideboard, mantel - piece, 
and brackets. Polly and I, with 
her brother Leonard, played all 
the long afternoon in the hay- 
field, drunk with the odour, the 
sunny stillness, the hum of the 
bees drunk, above all, with 
this transient bliss of freedom 
and high living. 

Another time Mrs Evans took 
me with Polly and Leonard to 
Kenilworth Castle, where we 
dined among the ruins on ham, 
cold chicken, fruit, and lemon- 
ade. Yet she herself is no re- 
membered personality : I cannot 
recall a single feature of hers, 
and even Polly herself is less 
clear in memory than Mary 
Jane of Kildare, than the ab- 
ominable Frank. 

Years after, in womanhood, 
Polly and her brother visited 
Ireland as tourists, and having 
all that time treasured my par- 
ents' address, called to see me. 
But I was abroad, a hopeless 
wanderer. Leonard, I learnt, 
was quite a fine young fellow, 
with a romantic attachment to 
me. Polly was sprightly and 
pretty, it seems, engaged too. 
But I never saw them again. 

An eminent bishop came to 
confirm us, and we were taken 
down to town church, where, to 
6ur infinite amusement, we oc- 
cupied several rows of benches 
opposite a boys' school, also 
brought hither for the same 



ceremony, each with a white 
rosette in his button-hole. None 
of us took the rite very seriously. 
We found it droll to be tapped 
on the cheek by a white episco- 
pal hand and told that we were 
soldiers, and we watched the 
boys to see if their bearing were 
more martial than ours. They 
seemed equally preoccupied with 
us, and looked as if they felt 
themselves fools, awkward and 
shamefaced. They stared hard 
at our noble youth, Frank, in 
his eternal skirts his curls had 
recently been clipped and 
nudged and giggled. Much of 
a soldier looked Frank ! Heaven 
help the religion of Christ or 
the Constitution if either re- 
posed faith in his prowess! 

Whither has he drifted, and 
what has life made of the mean- 
est little rascal I ever knew? 
Has he learnt to tell the truth 
at least ? Has some public 
school licked him into shape, 
and kicked the cowardice and 
spitefulness out of him ? When 
I became acquainted with 
Barnes Newcome afterwards, I 
always thought of that boy 
Frank. " Sister So-and-so, that 
nasty Angela is teasing me." 
" Mother This, I can't eat my 
bread -and- milk ; that horrid 
Angela has put salt into it." 
And then, when no one was 
looking, and a child weaker 
than himself was at hand, what 
sly pinches, and kicks, and 
vicious tugs at her hair. Noble 
youth, future pillar of the Brit- 
ish empire, I picture you an ad- 
mirable hypocrite and bully ! 

I wonder why the bishop 
singled me out of all that small 
crowd for a stupendous honour. 
He had asked my name, and 



68 



Autobiography of a Child. 



[Jan. 



after a luxurious lunch with a 
few privileged mothers in the 
convent, he requested somebody 
to fetch me. The nuns did not 
fail to impress the full measure 
of this honour upon me, and 
when I came into the refectory, 
where the bishop was enthroned 
like a prince, I caught a re- 
assuring beam from my dear 
friend, Mother Aloysius ! 

The bishop pushed back his 
chair and held out both arms to 
me. I was a singularly pretty 
child, I know. My enemy, Sister 
Esmeralda, had even said that 
I was like an angel with the 
heart of a fiend. A delicate, 
proud, and serious little visage, 
with the finish, the fairness, the 
transparency of a golden-haired 
doll, meant to take the prize in 
an exhibition. But this would 
hardly explain the extraor- 
dinary distinction conferred on 
me by a man who has passed 
into history, a grave and noble 
nature, with as many cares as 
a Prime Minister, a man who 
saw men and women in daily 
battalions, and to whom a 
strange little girl of nine he 
had never spoken to, could 
scarcely seem a more serious 
creature in life than a rabbit or 
a squirrel. 

He had a kind and thought- 
ful face, deeply lined and strik- 
ing. I liked his smile at once, 
and went up to him without 
any feeling of shyness. 

He lifted me on to his knee, 
kissed my forehead, and looked 
steadily and long into my steady 
eyes. Then he kissed me again, 
and called for a big slice of 
plum-cake, which Mother Aloy- 
sius, smiling delightedly at me, 
was quick to hand him. He 



took it from the plate, and 
placed it in my willing grasp. 

"A fine and most promising 4 * 
little face," I distinctly heard 
him say to the superioress. "But 
be careful of her. A difficult 
and dangerous temperament. 
All nerves and active brain, 
and a fearful suffering little 
heart within. Manage her, 
manage her. I tell you there's 
the stuff of a great saint or a 
great sinner here, if she should 
see twenty-one, which I doubt." 

Alas ! I have passed twenty- 
one years and years ago, with 
difficulty, it is true, with ever 
the haunting shadow of death 
about me, and time has revealed 
me neither the saint nor the 
sinner, just a creature of ordi- 
nary frailty and our common 
level of virtue. If I have not 
exactly gone to perdition an 
uncheerful proceeding my sense 
of humour would always guard 
me from I have not scaled the 
heights. I have lived my life, 
by no means as well as I had 
hoped in the days we are privi- 
leged to hope and to dream, 
not as loftily, neither with dis- 
tinction nor success ; but I have 
not accomplished any particular 
villany, or scandal, or crime that 
would justify my claiming an 
important place in the rank of 
sinners. . I " have had a good 
deal more innocent fun, and 
known a great deal more suf- 
fering, than fall to the common 
lot ; and I have enjoyed the fun 
with all the intensity of the 
mercurial Irish temperament, 
and endured the other with 
what I think I may proudlj 
call the courage of my race. I 
have not injured or cheated a 
human being, though I have 



1899.] 



Autobiography of a Child. 



69 



been greatly injured and cheated 
by more than I could now enum- 
Derate. There ends my scaling 
of the hill of virtues. 

Of my sins it behoves me not 
to speak, lest I should fall into 
the grotesque and delightful 
attitude of the sailor I once 
heard in London make his pub- 
lic confession to a Salvation 
Army circle. 

" My brothers, I am a miser- 
able sinner. In Australia I 
murdered a man ; I drank con- 
tinually, I thieved, I ran after 
harlots, and led the life of de- 
bauchery. Oh, my friends, 
pray for me, for now I am 
converted and know Jesus. I 
am one of the just, may I re- 
main so. But wicked and de- 
bauched and drunken as I was, 
there were lots more out there 
much worse than I." In sum- 
ming up our errors and frailties, 
it is always a kindly comfort 
offered our conceit to think that 
there are on all sides of us " lots 
more much worse than we." 
Unless our pride chooses to 
take refuge in the opposite re- 
flection, so we prefer to glory in 
being much worse than others. 

And so ends my single inter- 
view with an eminent ecclesias- 
tic. He kissed me repeatedly, 
and stroked my hair while I 
munched my plum-cake on his 
knee. He questioned me, and 
discovered my passionate inter- 
est in Napoleon and Josephine 



and the Queen of Prussia, the 
King-maker and the children in 
the Tower. And then, having 
prophesied my early death and 
luminous or lurid career, he 
filled my two small hands with 
almond -drops and toffee, and 
sent me away, a being hence- 
forth of something more than 
common clay. 

From that hour my position 
in Lysterby was improved. I 
was never even slapped again, 
though I had had the stupen- 
dous good luck to see, unseen 
myself, the lay sister who had 
flogged me go into a cupboard 
on the staircase, whose door, 
with the key on the outside, 
opened outward, and crawling 
along on hands and knees, 
reached the door in time to 
lock her in. I was also known 
to have climbed fruit-trees, when 
I robbed enough unripe fruit to 
make all the little ones ill. Yet 
nobody beat me, and I was let 
off with a sharp admonishment. 
I went my unruly way, secretly 
protected by the bishop's ad- 
miration. 

If I did not amend, and loved 
none the more my tyrants, then- 
rule being less drastic, I had 
less occasion to fly out at them. 
Besides, semi - starvation had 
subdued me for the while. I 
suffered continually from ab- 
scesses and earache, and spent 
most of my time in the infir- 
mary, dreaming and reading. 



(To be continued.) 



70 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



MEN WHO HAVE KEPT A DIARY. 



" Velut minuta magno 
Deprensa navis in mari vesaniente vento.' 



"THERE is nothing, sir, too 
little for so little a creature as 
man. It is by studying little 
things that we attain the great 
art of having as little misery 
and as much happiness as pos- 
sible." This pronouncement by 
the most complete hero of the 
most complete diarist known 
strikes the keynote of all memor- 
able diaries. " The great thing 
to be recorded," observes Dr 
Johnson on another occasion, 
" is the state of your own mind, 
and you should write down 
everything that you remember, 
for you cannot judge at first 
what is good and bad." These 
unpremeditated self-confidences 
the confessions of individual- 
ity form the charm of "men 
who have kept a diary," the 
spell of 

"The little great, the infinite small 
thing " 

the appeal of Truth en de'shabille'. 
"In this glass," preached At- 
terbury of Lady Cutt's Diary, 
"she every day dressed her 
mind." It is just this "dress- 
ing of the mind" that makes 
diaries such interesting human 
documents. But, when we par- 
ticularise, we find that very few 
surviving publications wholly 
fulfil these conditions of privacy 
and candour. Boswell himself 
was recommended by his dicta- 
tor to retain some posthumous 
friend for the cremation of his 
own diary. There are diarists 



who, during their daily toilet 
before the glass, are more con- 
cerned with the reflections of 
the room than of themselves. 
There are, again, set diarists 
who masquerade in domino. 
There are diarists for a purpose, 
and diarists for no purpose. 
There are diarists, once more, 
of " Memoir es a servir," mainly 
interesting from their oppor- 
tunities. In perusing such we 
may well remember the saying 
of George Eliot that " curiosity 
becomes the more eager from 
the incompleteness of the first 
information. ' ' To such curiosity 
anecdotal remembrancers, from 
the weightier type of armchair 
historian to the lighter speci- 
men of after-dinner raconteur, 
inherently respond. For good 
anecdote is to good literature 
what wit is to wisdom, repartee 
to conversation, and bouquet to 
wine. It is at once condensed 
and indicative. It interprets 
life while it exhibits the bric-a- 
brac of mannerism and man- 
ners. The main qualification 
for every diarist none the less 
remains that of the legal witness. 
His evidence must be first-hand 
and absolutely sincere. And 
through all the varieties of ten- 
dency and form runs, even if 
subconsciously, the psychologi- 
cal thread. For us the work- 
ings of the diarist's own mind 
exercise a paramount fascina- 
tion and restrict our choice, so 
that in this regard we shall 



1899.] 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



71 



afterwards instance two collec- 
tions of correspondence which 
^signally reveal character, in- 
formal diaries before whose 
"glass" the letter- writer truly 
" dresses " his own soul. Did 
space permit, we might have 
mounted higher. For all an- 
nalists and essayists are born 
diarists or the reverse. Herodo- 
tus is a diarist by nature ; so, 
if less primitively, is Tacitus ; 
so eminently are Froissart and 
Burnet ; so, after his manner, is 
Macaulay. Not so are Thucy- 
dides or Clarendon or Gibbon. 
Montaigne is a diarist ; Bacon, 
the opposite. It is a difference 
of temperaments the difference 
between the authors of the 
'Spectator' and the author of 
the 'Rambler,' between Gold- 
smith and Smollett, Sterne and 
Fielding. Rousseau is a diarist 
even in his so-called 'Philos- 
ophy'; Voltaire, a "Philoso- 
pher" even in his 'Notes sur 
les Anglois.' 

If ever a man was designed 
to keep a diary, it was Pepys. 
He is naive and communicative 
to a fault. Seated in his own 
confessional, he unbosoms his 
memory and absolves his con- 
science. The journal was com- 
posed in cipher. Mrs Pepys 
could have made nothing of it ; 
it was never apparently meant 
for perusal. This typical bour- 
geois of his day, fussy and 
pompous, petty and busybody- 
m g> regular in his irregularities 
as in his expenditure, thrifty, 
vain, and passionately inquisi- 
tive, would retire into his sanc- 
, i turn, produce the treasured 
pages, and find his relief in the 
truthful industry of his chron- 
icle. For truth and industry 



are among his redeeming feat- 
ures. "With my eyes mighty 
weary and my head full of care 
how to get my accounts and 
business settled against my 
journey, home to supper and 
bed," he writes in the face of 
his infirmity. So is fortitude. 
There is a genuine pathos in 
the words which close the diary 
when blindness was threatening 
the little Secretary to the Ad- 
miralty with its terrors. From 
henceforth he "must be con- 
tented to set down no more 
than is fit for them and all the 
world to know; or if there be 
anything, I must endeavour to 
keep a margin in my book 
open, to add here and there a 
note in shorthand with my own 
hand. And so I betake myself 
to that course which is almost 
as much as to see myself go 
into my grave : for which, and 
all the discomforts that will 
accompany my being blind, the 
good God prepare me ! " S turdy, 
stoical nay, in a sense pious 
petit maitre, for all his foibles 
and frailties ! His periodical 
headache of repentance is fol- 
lowed by the periodical draught 
of peccadillo. Though he has 
no deep sense of life's mystery, 
he does realise his accountability 
to God a prosaic accountabil- 
ity like those official audits that 
so taxed his diligence. He 
never whimpers or makes ex- 
cuse. Nor does he brave it out, 
like that German colonel whom 
Konigsmarck suborned to stab 
Mr Thynne, and who averred, 
as he marched to execution, 
that he did not care for death 
a rush, and that he hoped " God 
would treat him like a gentle- 
man." No, Pepys only regrets 



72 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



an error in the accounts of 
conduct. The recording angel 
must needs pause with a smile, 
and condone so comical a peni- 
tent. It is pleasant to discover 
the mannikin hale and hearty 
after all in his age, finely housed 
at Clapham, exchanging letters 
with wise Evetyn or smoothing 
down the huffy Kneller, after 
Queen Anne had come into 
her own. With what squirrel- 
alacrity does he climb the 
tangled tree of preferment, 
darting the quick, sly glances 
from his merry eyes, crunching 
the nut of office with elfish 
self-complacency, and exulting 
in the growing bushiness of his 
fur ; a child, rather than a man, 
of the world, and a greedy 
child too ! What a good fellow 
in company ; how proud of his 
mediocre music, of his wife, of 
the pies she bakes, of the 
mantuas she wears, of all that 
is his ! How fond, too, of a 
lord, and of his dear disdainful 
Lady Castlemaine ! How calcu- 
lating, how parsimonious, how 
observant, how limited, how ac- 
commodating! Had he served 
Oliver, he had assuredly been 
a Puritan until he sat down 
to the tell-tale journal. His 
sympathies appear to have been 
with the Puritan party. "To 
the fair to see the play of 
'Bartholomew Fair' with pup- 
pets. And it is an excellent 
play; the more I see it, the 
more I love the wit of it ; only 
the business of abusing the 
Puritans begins to grow stale 
and of no use, they being the 
people that at last will be found 
the wisest." And all this un- 
conscious humour without a 
suspicion of self-ridicule. 



Moliere could not have mould- 
ed a more humorous figure than 
this demure, droll, shrewd, irre- ^ 
pressible, indefatigable gossip of ' 
a Philistine solemnly draws of 
himself amid the slatternly splen- 
dours of Charles II. " Met with 
Sir James Bunch ; ' this is the 
time for you,' says he, ' that were 
for Oliver heretofore ; you are 
full of employment, and we poor 
Cavaliers sit still and can get 
nothing,' which was a pretty 
reproach I thought, but an- 
swered nothing, for fear of mak- 
ing it worse." Of course he did 
not. Only a few days afterwards 
he is casting accounts as usual : 
" And there find myself, to my 
great joy, a great deal worth 
above 4000Z. For which the 
Lord be praised ! And is princi- 
pally occasioned by my getting 
500Z. of Cocke for my profit in 
his bargains of prize goods, and 
from Mr Gauden's making me 
a present of 500Z. more when 
I paid him 800Z. for Tangier." 
Well done, Mr Worldly-Wise- 
man ! And considering the 
standard of the times, it was 
honestly - gotten wealth. A 
few perquisites were but requi- 
sites. No wonder that on 
seeing 'Henry the Fourth 5 he 
was, "contrary to expectation, 
pleased in nothing more than in 
Cartwright's speaking of Fal- 
stafFe's speech about 'What is 
Honour ? ' ' And Pepys was 
a staunch friend, unlike that 
"Captain Holmes" "one (by 
his own confessions to me) that 
can put on two several faces, 
and look his enemies in the 
face with as much love as his 
friends. But, good God ! what 
an age is this, and what a world 
is this, that a man cannot live 



1899." 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



73 



without playing the knave and 
dissimulation ! " He would 
never certainly have agreed 
\vith Carlyle respecting gig- 
men : " Abroad with my wife, 
the first time that ever I rode 
in my own coach [1668], which 
do make my heart rejoice, and 
praise God and pray Him to 
bless it to me and continue it." 
Here once more is a fine touch : 
"To the Wardrobe. Hither 
come Mr Battersby; and we, 
falling into discourse of a new 
book of drollery in use, called 
'Hudebras,' I would needs go 
find it out, and met with it at 
the Temple: cost me 2s. 6d. 
But, when I come to read it, 
it is so silly an abuse of the 
Presbyter knight going to the 
warre that I am ashamed of it ; 
and by-and-by, meeting at Mr 
Townsend's at dinner, I sold it 
him for 18d." This passage 
catches Pepys at more oddities 
than one. His infinite curiosity 
is an attractive point. My Lord 
Brouncker takes a watch to 
pieces for his instruction, and 
amuses him mightily ; he is 
privileged to see the king's 
collection, and is quite "con- 
founded " with the medley. He 
is so readily impressed, when 
he beholds Charles in his barge 
going to meet the Queen, it 
"lessens his esteem of him" 
"that he should not be able to 
command the rain " ; and, 
again, he is hardly a sound 
judge of literature. He thinks 
much more of his "new sum- 
mer black bombazine " than of 
Shakespeare. " Macbeth " is " a 
i pretty good play " ; the " Mid- 
summer Night's Dream" "the 
most insipid, ridiculous play." 
But if these opinions had been 



then out of vogue he would 
have recanted them quickly 
enough ; his ubiquitous self-im- 
portance was very sensitive 
" My wife and I to Polichinelly, 
but were there horribly frighted 
to see young Killigrew come in 
with a great many more young 
sparks; but we hid ourselves, 
so as we think they did not see 
us." Cannot we imagine him 
peering from his ambush at 
these "sons of Belial"? One 
last word about Pepys. In the 
pathos of his affections is the 
strangest admixture of selfish- 
ness. "My whole family hath 
been well all this while, and all 
my friends I know of, saving 
my aunt Bell, who is dead, and 
some children of my cosen Sarah, 
of the plague. But many of 
such as I know very well, dead. 
Yet, to our great joy, the town 
fills apace, and shops begin to 
be open again." But the man 
wrote exactly as he felt, nor 
must the touching mention of 
his mother be overlooked : " Re- 
ceived from by brother the news 
of my mother's dying on Mon- 
day, . . . and the last time she 
spoke of her children was on 
Friday last, and her last words 
were, ' God bless my poor Sam.' 
The reading whereof set me 
weeping heartily." Let us take 
leave of Pepys in his own sum- 
mary of Sir Ellis Ley ton, 
"whom I find a wonderful 
witty ready man for sudden an- 
swers and little tales, and say- 
ings very extraordinary witty." 
Or in Evelyn's epitome of him 
as " a very worthy, industrious, 
and curious person." 

Over Evelyn's own diary we 
shall not linger. It is a most 
valuable repository of sights 



74 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



and things at home and abroad; 
but it is photographic, it lacks 
distinction and temperament. 
Evelyn himself may be well 
portrayed by his own account 
of his younger brother, "A 
sober, prudent, worthy gentle- 
man." A country magnate who 
survived terrible crises, trav- 
elled much when travel was 
a rarity, he always preserved 
an open heart and an open 
mind as well as an open house. 
He maps out rather than paints 
his stormy, stirring periods. 
His own individuality does not 
modify or tinge his theme. One 
phase of his, however, we feel 
constrained to rescue : " This 
day I paid all my debts to a 
farthing, O blessed day!" 

Some seven years only divide 
the close of his almanac and the 
threshold of 'The Journal to 
Stella,' but the gulf between 
them in attraction is immeas- 
urable. Swift's diary of two 
worlds his own and hers 
whose letters have unfortunate- 
ly perished stands out unique, 
the most entrancing and the 
most tragic of all extant jour- 
nals. It haunts one like a re- 
frain. The mere step in style 
from the quaint affectations of 
Pepys and the colourless gravity 
of Evelyn to Swift's nervous 
diction, his terse impetuosity, 
his repressed fondness, his em- 
phasised hardness, his little 
pathetic language, his large in- 
dignant irony, is the step from 
still life to breathing, from 
lecture to literature, from what 
must always remain ancient to 
what will never cease to be 
modern. Yet we owe its pre- 
servation to a double accident. 
Had the Irish bishops never 



despatched his Reverence of 
Laracor to obtain remission of 
the First Fruits, had Swift 
never penned his history of the 
Last Four Years of Queen 
Anne, for which purpose he re- 
claimed the Journal, we should 
have lost at once the minia- 
tures and the picture the min- 
iatures of his own soul and 
Stella's, the picture of those 
two turbid years and nine 
months, the quintessence of its 
trifles alike and its tremendous 
issues, its cabals, its inner and 
outer life, all rendered with a 
faithfulness born of yearning 
and a force native to that self- 
torturing genius. He shuts the 
door of his London, Chelsea, or 
Kensington lodging after his 
restless day of dictatorial busi- 
ness ; he dismisses the drunken 
Patrick. At once, as by en- 
chantment, the willows, the 
canal, the cherry-trees, above 
all, the two ladies of Laracor, 
arise before him. He listens 
to them ; he answers them with 
abrupt ejaculations, with soft 
whispers ; he invests then- 
merest bagatelles with actuality 
and importance, just as long 
afterwards in his "Gulliver." 
We are as deeply concerned to 
know if that box reached Stella 
as we are to learn the last dis- 
closure of the wonderful Mr St 
John which the masterful Presto 
imparts to his " State -girls." 
He will assert himself even here 
and outdo them ; he will write 
" five for two " of theirs ; he 
dashes it all off unconnected at 
redhot speed. He "cannot put 
out the candle till he has bid 
them good-night." He "must 
always be in conversation with 
M. D., and M. D. with Presto." 



1899.] 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



75 



"As hope saved, nothing gives 
Presto any dream of happiness 
but a letter now and then from 
his dearest M. D." " Yes, faith 
and when I write to M. D. I 
am happy too ; it is just as if 
methinks you were here and I 
prating to you and telling you 
where I have been. ' Well,' 
says you, * Presto come, where 
have you been to-day? Come 
let's hear now.' And so then 
I answer." He peeps over their 
hand at cards ; he toasts them 
both at coxcomb " Jemmy 
Leigh's." Is Stella jealous of 
his present to Dingley? Ding- 
ley is buxom and healthy, and 
must care for Stella. He takes 
a fancy to Lady Ashburnham 
because she resembles Stella. 
Of Stella he dreams over and 
over again. " God Almighty 
bless her for her kindness to 
poor Presto : a merry Christmas 
and a happy New Year; and 
pray God we may never keep 
them asunder again." "God 
Almighty bless poor dear Stella 
and send her a great many 
birthdays, all happy and healthy, 
wealthy and with me ever to- 
gether." "When I find you 
are happy and merry there, it 
makes me so here, and I can 
hardly imagine you absent when 
I am reading your letter or 
writing to you. No, faith you 
are just here upon this little 
paper, and therefore I see and 
talk with you every evening 
constantly." "M. D.'s felicity 
is the great end I aim at in all 
my pursuits." He supervises 
her exercise, her spelling, her 
books. He is anxious about 
her eyes and her horse. He 
will become a china-maniac for 
her sake. Has she received the 



palsy water her mother left for 
her yet? Presto in one brief 
fortnight shoots up into a great 
man on whom Harley and St 
John and the Tory wits have 
fastened ; ay, and he has fast- 
ened them too ! But, " Believe 
me, no man breathing at pre- 
sent has less share of happiness 
in life than I. I do not say I 
am unhappy at all, but that 
everything here is tasteless to 
me for want of being where I 
would be. And so a short sigh 
and no more of this." "Yet 
the day came when he returned 
as Dean to the place ' where he 
would be ' without exultation, 
and with a long pang far more 
piteous than this short sigh." 
" Miss Hessy " had already in 
that first year entered on the 
scene. We have taken the 
trouble to count how many 
times Presto dined at Mrs Van- 
homrigh's till the beginning of 
1712. There are over fifty oc- 
casions of those five o'clock din- 
ners, usually with an avowed 
and uneasy excuse. It was so 
rainy ; he had hurt his shin and 
must eat at a neighbour's ; he 
only dined " gravely " with the 
extravagant widow and her 
smart set. 

But afterwards the pretexts 
end and the dinners are uncon- 
fessed. During the initial pe- 
riod his very excuses plead for 
Swift. His association with 
the susceptible Vanessa resem- 
bled Goethe's with Bettina ; 
and the pupil would, like Bet- 
tina, have receded, a childlike 
episode, had not Vanessa proved 
of another mould. The clue, on 
the other hand, to Swift's as- 
sociation with Stella is the an- 
alogy of Goethe's with Mina 



76 



.Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



Herzlieb. The same conflict 
of passion with duty, of pla- 
tonic friendship with stifling 
prudence, that is mirrored in 
" Die Wahlverwandschaften " 
distracts and distorts the la- 
cerated being of Swift. His 
character was not unlike his 
own portrait of the ill-starred 
Duchess of Hamilton, who " sel- 
dom spared anybody that gave 
her the least provocation, by 
which she had many enemies 
and few friends." To these 
few he clung violently and in- 
tensely. Does any one doubt 
Swift's unfeigned and radical 
tenderness of heart ? Let him 
read in these pages of his kind- 
ness to Mrs Long, the poor 
bankrupt beauty; of his duti- 
ful attendance on the old, 
bedridden Mrs Wesley; of his 
fatherly goodness to young 
Harrison ; of his devotion to 
Harley, Peterborough, Atter- 
bury, Lewis, Arbuthnot ; of 
his eager offices for his polit- 
ical enemies Addison, Steele, 
Phillips, and Eowe ; of his 
methodical almsgiving ; of his 
resolve " in honour and con- 
science to use all my little 
credit towards helping forward 
men of worth in the world." 
That resolve hindered his own 
advancement; it helped Pope, 
Gay, and Diaper; it made 
Parnell and Bishop Berkeley. 
He was no sentimentalist, but 
under the fountain of bitter- 
ness welled something sweet 
and delicious. Beneath that 
savage ambition throbbed a 
poet's heart. Thackeray, un- 
just to Swift and over-gener- 
ous to Addison, never excerpted 
that passage about the linnet : 
" I went last night to put 



some coals on my fire, after 
Patrick was gone to bed; and 
there I saw in a closet a poor 
linnet he has bought to bring 
over to Dingley : it cost him 
sixpence, and is as tame as a 
dormouse. I believe he does 
not know he is a bird. Where 
you put him there he stands, 
and seems to have neither hope 
nor fear." Nor does he relate 
how Swift turned aside that 
the proud, heartbroken Duke 
of Ormond might wipe the 
tears for his daughter from 
his eyes. Nor the following 
about the Duchess of Hamilton 
after her husband's fatal duel 
with Lord Mohun : " I have 
been with her two hours and 
am just come away. I never 
saw so melancholy a scene; 
for indeed all reasons for real 
grief belong to her; nor is it 
possible for anybody to be a 
greater loser in all regards. 
She has moved my very 
soul." Nor how he played 
with Lady Masham's children. 
Yet this extraordinary man 
is, like Hamlet, "very proud, 
revengeful, ambitious." For 
those who affront himself, the 
Church, or his friends, he will 
have no mercy. Like Tar- 
quin, he knocks off the tallest 
heads with his implacable stick. 
When Lady Masham's attend- 
ance at Court was imperative 
for the Cause, he blames her 
for sitting by the sick-bedside 
of the very child with whom 
he had romped. This is how 
he mentions his only sister, 
who had long before displeased 
him by her marriage : " Mrs 
Fenton writes to me as one 
dying, and desires I would 
think of her son; I have not 



1899.] 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



77 



answered her letter." When 
Swift was very ill, and that 
: same sister called to see him, 
he denied her admittance, but 
nevertheless he stinted himself 
to make her an allowance. 

The severe illness of Swift 
is the dividing line of the Jour- 
nal. Before it, all is high hope, 
excited elasticity, intermeddling 
triumph, and confiding affec- 
tion. After it, comes a listless 
and saturnine depression. It 
was not all Miss Hessy. The 
great men who court him put 
him off. He is weary of disre- 
garded counsel and society's 
school for scandal. Now and 
again the old burst of love and 
loyalty struggles through the 
gloom. But gradually the 
stern melancholy settles on 
him. He neglects Stella's birth- 
day congratulations; he be- 
comes more and more suspi- 
cious and reticent. And what 
a world is that which he sub- 
dues ! The prodigy Boling- 
broke manoeuvring and mis- 
understood. Intrepid Oxford 
loitering through crisis to cat- 
astrophe. The dilatory Queen, 
emancipated from Whig tutel- 
age, but under the thumb of 
orthodox Archbishop of York 
and homely Mrs Masham 
"extremely like one Mrs Mal- 
olly that was once my landlady 
in Trim " ; under the sinister 
thumbscrew, further, of the 
haughty Duchess of Somerset, 
who will not be shaken off. 
Manipulating Prior's " lean 
carcase." Accomplished, prim, 
spotless Addison condescending 
to tope with his unroystering 
circle of obsequious Bohemians, 
and "fair sexing " it in the 
'Spectator.' Even after their 



cleavage Swift would fain be 
friends, and gets him to dine 
with Mrs Secretary St John. 
Discarded Sarah, Duchess of 
Marlboro ugh, vowing ven- 
geance and clutching gold. 
Witty, versatile Lady Orkney. 
Pert, flirting Lady Betty Ger- 
maine. Sweet, weeping Mrs 
St John. Swaggering, raking 
Sir Andrew Fountaine. Rich, 
stingy Sir Thomas Mansel. 
Sanguine, stock-jobbing Strat- 
ford. The gallants strut and 
chatter in the Mall. The news- 
mongering busybodies flit from 
coffee - house to coffee - house. 
The very footmen hold their 
own Parliament outside West- 
minster Hall and elect their 
Speaker. Calmly in the back- 
ground sit Somers, Halifax, and 
Walpole, concocting their re- 
venge and awaiting their suc- 
cess. Guiscard stabs Harley, 
and ensures Oxford's popular- 
ity. The magnifico - Ambas- 
sador Monteleon scrapes and 
bows to the great Doctor 
Swift. Prince Eugene comes 
in to trouble the land. The 
" expensive " Due D'Aumont 
hurries over from France, and 
has his ambassadorial house 
burned over him. It is a Whig 
plot. So is the disturbance on 
Queen Elizabeth's birthday. 
The town takes its cue from 
the men of letters. Everybody 
is inventing conspiracies or un- 
earthing them. Spying Abbes 
Gautier and Dubois confabulate 
at Windsor over the treaty of 
Utrecht with its formulating 
genius. A bishop goes to pre- 
side over the congress that is 
to kill the war. Oxford and 
Bolingbroke refuse mutual quar- 
ter. The Government are "driv- 



78 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



ing it to an inch " and skating 
on thin ice. " Succession in 
danger" shout the Whigs; 
" Church in danger," the Tories. 
It is a jostling phantasmagoria 
of England while she makes 
the famous peace that chic- 
aned the Dutch and contented 
the great Monarch. And mean- 
while Vanessa fans her flame 
with the classics and arranges 
her " spark's " Sunday periwig. 
Stella and Dingley are wearied 
of expecting the letter that shall 
herald Presto's return. And 
Presto himself domineers and 
despairs ; sits up four nights 
a-week making believe to crack 
bottles with Lord Treasurer or 
Bolingbroke, and jests with all 
that brilliant throng of sixteen 
" Brothers " whose master-spirit 
he was. In rushes " Mordant o " 
Peterborough, fresh from his 
diplomatic wanderings, and 
warm-heartedly embraces the 
imperious parson, who is power- 
ful without place. Outside rage 
and brawl the Mohocks. The 
watch cries "Twelve of the 
clock," and still Swift dallies. 
It is "twelvepenny weather," 
and the thrifty economist will 
trudge it home. He creates 
Sterne Bishop of Dromore, and 
accepts his deanery with dis- 
gust. And then succeeds the 
home-coming, with Vanessa in 
his wake. Fled is the rapture 
of the deferred meeting. That 
brief spell of dictatorship has 
ruined his life. Ambition has 
murdered sleep. He has drunk 
of those troubled waters, and 
obeys the summons of their 
spell : he hastens back only 
to be in at the death. Ah, if 
but the queen had lived ! " Fui- 
mus Tores!" as delightful Dr 



Arbuthnot lamented. And 
henceforth there is no more 
journal, no more peace. The * 
fine friends fade away into ex- 
ile or dependence or death. 
Walpole mounts the throne. 
He cares no more for the " Scrib- 
lerus Club" than his two au- 
gust servants did for letters. 
And, despite more fame and 
more wretchedness, Swift, after 
Stella's death, retires in hag- 
gard mockery till he dies " like 
a poisoned rat in a hole." The 
brave vessel with its jolly crew 
has made shipwreck. All that 
sparkling company is dispersed. 
It has become a phantom ship 
of immortal but ghostly fable. 

And this naturally brings us 
to Horace Walpole. Men of 
letters are no longer men of 
affairs. The former yield the 
latter homage in exchange for 
patronage, or defiance as the 
badge of disappointment. The 
age of pasteboard classicality has 
begun of industrious trifles and 
elaborate impromptu. Walpole 
may be called the founder of 
" anecdotage," just as Spence 
inaugurated the literary curi- 
osity-shop. The former was 
the precursor of Greville, the 
latter of Isaac Disraeli. Wal- 
pole styles himself a " garrulous 
Brantome." In his "Reminis- 
cences of the Courts of George 
the First and Second," com- 
piled for the inquisitive Misses 
Berry, we find him at his best. 
Macaulay has unduly belittled 
Walpole. His trifling is not 
trivial; he is a dilettante, but 
in the grand style. From that 
style Thackeray himself bor- 
rowed, as witness the subjoined 
extract from Walpole concern- 
ing George II: "The King's 



1899. 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



79 



last years passed as regularly 
as clockwork. At nine at night 
.he had cards in the apartment 
of his daughters . . . with Lady 
Yarmouth, two or three of the 
late queen's ladies, and as many 
of the most favoured officers of 
his own household. Every Sat- 
urday in summer he carried 
that uniform party, but with- 
out his daughters, to dine at 
Eichmond. They went in 
coaches and six in the middle 
of the day, with the heavy 
horseguards kicking up the 
dust before them dined, walked 
an hour in the garden, returned 
in the same dusty parade, and 
his majesty fancied himself the 
most gallant and lively prince 
in Europe." Every one re- 
members his dramatis personce. 
What a galaxy of shabby 
state and magnificent mean- 
ness ! There are the princesses 
Amelia and Caroline in two 
camps with their two heart- 
less and titled lovers orientally 
cooped up in that royal seraglio ; 
there are royalties enthusiastic 
for the deposed family ; there is 
the royal father always hating 
the royal son, and, by a trans- 
ference of the wars of succession 
to the cabals of the successor, 
ensuring the peace of England. 
There is dark - eyed insolent 
Anne Brett, the late King's 
English mistress, whose mother 
was Savage's. "Abishag was 
lodged in the palace under the 
eyes of Bathsheba." There is 
aging Duchess Sarah, still ra- 
pacious and still revengeful; 
and there is cool, dogged Sir 
Robert, who buys boroughs as 
a grazier buys oxen, and who 
with his matter-of-pocket mas- 
terfulness annihilates the old 



Marlborough Junto. " When a 
reconciliation had been patched 
up between the two courts, and 
my father became First Lord 
of the Treasury a second time, 
Lord Sunderland in a tite-a-t&te, 
with him said, ' Well, Mr Wai- 
pole, we have settled matters 
for the present, but we must 
think whom we will have next.' 
Walpole said, 'Your lordship 
may think as you please, but 
my part is taken.'" We gain 
a pleasant glimpse of the clever, 
stoical Queen Caroline, who on 
the accession of her husband 
undid his rash choice of the 
zany Sir Spencer Compton for 
minister. The crowd of turn- 
coat courtiers flocked to Leices- 
ter House and fought studious- 
ly shy of the favourite, whom 
they deemed rejected. "Mr 
Walpole being descried by the 
queen, ' There I am sure I see 
a friend,' she cried." And in 
Horace Walpole himself runs 
an unsuspected vein of his 
father's patriotic fibre. In 
1745, when the national hori- 
zon was threatening, he thus 
writes to Sir Horace Mann : 
"... How much I wish my- 
self with you ! anywhere where 
I could have my thoughts de- 
tached in some degree by dis- 
tance and length of time from 
England. With all the reasons 
that I have for not loving great 
part of it, it is impossible not 
to feel the shock of living at 
the period of all its greatness. 
To be one of the Ultimi Roman- 
orum." One can scarcely check 
a smile at the affectation of 
Horace Walpole as "Last of 
the Komans." No better com- 
mentary could be instanced than 
the description of the frontis- 



80 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



piece to his ' Memories of 
George the Second ' : " The 
author leaning on a globe of 
the world, between Heracleitus 
and Democritus, presents his 
book to the latter. In the 
landscape is a view of the 
author's villa at Strawberry 
Hill, near Twickenham, where 
the memoirs were chiefly 
written. At the bottom is the 
date of the year, with emblems 
and the author's arms and 
motto. ..." To complete the 
contrast we append the follow- 
ing " short notes " of his diary 
for 1754 : "June 25. I erected 
a printing-press at my house in 
Strawberry Hill. August 8. 
I published two odes by Mr 
Gray, the first production of 
my press. In September I 
erected a tomb in St Anne's 
churchyard, Soho, for Theo- 
dore King of Corsica." Could 
forcible feebleness further go? 
It is refreshing to turn to 
Boswell. We shall confine our- 
selves to Boswell's character, 
which has been little studied. 
If the ' Journal to Stella ' is a 
diary of two worlds, Boswell's 
' Life ' is an atmosphere of one 
that of his hero. Yet through 
this atmosphere his own person- 
ality emerges clear and palpable. 
Rogers (also a diarist) instances 
in his commonplace-book " Bos- 
well drunk at Lord Falmouth's 
in Cornwall, kicking about his 
bed at midnight, swearing at 
the house, in which he said there 
was no bed to lie on and no 
wine to drink." Macaulay, in 
his famous essay, brands him 
more suo as " vile and impertin- 
ent, shallow and pedantic, a 
bigot and a sot, bloated with 
family pride, . . . yet stooping 



to be a talebearer, an eaves- 
dropper, a common butt in the 
taverns of London." Diokencjfl 
calls him "an unconscious cox- 
comb." It was Carlyle who 
first drew attention to Boswell's 
higher nature. But Carlyle, 
with his love of exaggerated 
alternative, and his fatal in- 
capacity for thinking out things 
thoroughly, delineates Johnson 
as a sort of practical Don Quix- 
ote, with Boswell as Sancho 
Panza. Johnson sallies forth 
with the broadsword of truth 
to slay giants ; the sensual, 
ignorant Boswell has yet the 
saving instinct of hero-worship, 
and chooses and serves valiantly 
a spiritual master. 

All this is hyperbole. It is 
true that Boswell drank deep, 
but then so on occasion did 
Johnson : it was a drinking age. 
The question is not whether he 
drank, but what he did while 
drinking. Boswell loved to lis- 
ten to wisdom a gift almost 
as rare as wisdom itself and 
port stimulated the wisdom and 
kindled the conversation. At 
their opening rendezvous in the 
Mitre Tavern each finished a 
bottle, and, among other things, 
discussed orthodoxy. It was on 
this that Johnson, with the ge- 
nial glow around him, exclaimed, 
"Give me your hand I have 
taken a liking to you." It is 
true that Boswell, before he 
met Johnson first at Davies's 
shop in 1763, had been in search 
of a celebrity, but when one 
comes close up to him one dis- 
cerns the reason. He had co- 
quetted with Komanism. He/ 
was a man of weak will but 
good instincts, who had hitherto 
seen the better and followed the 



1899. 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



81 



worse ; lie searched for a Mentor 
to brace his resolutions for a 
Atonic. There is something touch- 
ing and not ridiculous in his 
early perseverance to propitiate 
the oracle. He will take no re- 
buff. He calls on him in the 
Temple. He waylays him at 
one o'clock in the morning. 
This is no Silenus approaching 
Socrates. As he himself re- 
marks of Goldsmith : " He had 
sagacity enough to cultivate 
assiduously the acquaintance of 
Johnson, and his faculties were 
gradually enlarged. ..." It 
was idleness in painful earnest, 
sympathy eager for support. 
It is true, again, that Boswell 
" blustered about the dignity of 
a born gentleman." But what 
does the Doctor observe on this 
very subject : " To be sure, sir, 
if you were only to dine once, 
and it were never to be known 
where you dined, you would 
choose rather to dine with the 
first man for genius, but to gain 
most respect you should dine 
with the first duke in England." 
It is true, further, that Boswell 
was a bore : " I wonder, sir, that 
you have not more pleasure in 
writing than in not writing." 
Johnson : " Sir, you may won- 
der." But for this grande curio- 
site' he would never have been 
snubbed, nor we enlightened. 
At any rate, Johnson gave him 
a handsome testimonial on their 
Scotch journey for " acuteness," 
gaiety of conversation, and civil- 
ity of manners. And Boswell, 
be it remembered, served his 
bustling apprenticeship against 
u the wishes of the family he so 
much revered. His old Whig 
father regarded Johnson as a 
dangerous Tory " Dominie." 
VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



His wife who afterwards re- 
conciled herself by a pot of her 
own marmalade remarked 
caustically that she had seen 
many a bear led by a man, but 
never before a man led by a 
bear. The bore as martyr is 
surely a rara avis. Two con- 
siderations must also be borne 
in mind. One, that Boswell was 
hypochondriacal a touch of 
nature that made them kin. 
The other, that he rejoiced in a 
faculty in which Johnson was 
deficient an extreme patience 
perhaps inherited from that 
Dutch ancestress of whom he 
was so proud. The microscopic 
finish of his detail was not ob- 
tained during the 276 days only 
of actual association without 
immense effort. " The stretch 
of mind," he naively asserts, 
" and prompt assiduity by which 
so many conversations were pre- 
served, I myself, at some dis- 
tance of time, contemplate with 
wonder." A man inspired with 
one idea is usually either a 
genius or a madman. Boswell 
was certainly no madman; we 
are persuaded that he was a 
genius. If we except Spence, 
Boswell was the first who sub- 
stituted the oratio recta for the 
obliqua who made a drama of 
a ctiary. This practice after- 
wards became common. Haz- 
litt interspersed it in his " Con- 
versations with Northcote " ; 
Medwin employed it in those 
with Byron ; Trelawny in those 
with Shelley. As individual- 
ity, fostered by English freedom 
and sociability, multiplied, these 
diaries increased. Their name 
is now legion. " D-me, sir, 
they breed," as the old Duke of 
Cumberland remarked of the 
F 



82 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



papers. The consequence has 
been a vast number of second- 
hand platitudes and ineptitudes. 
" Un sot a toujours un plus sot 
qui I'admire." 

The diaries that enthral 
that present great actors off the 
stage, and commanders at ease 
have been comparatively few. 
One such diary was destroyed 
Byron's. But portions of his 
journals are embalmed in 
Moore's Life, and agree so 
closely with the spirit of his 
letters that some mention of 
them must here be made. No 
one in perusing them can fail 
to be struck with their pre- 
dominant, even violent, sin- 
cerity. Byron's writing was 
mainly a vent for his impetu- 
ous feelings. In all his com- 
positions, public as well as 
private, a sense of lurid smoke 
from the flame of passion is 
manifest; they are the craters 
of his heart. His emphasis and 
directness of expression, the 
shrewd common-sense imputed 
to him by Disraeli, his vivid in- 
tuitions of men, things, and 
scenery, his moody sense of 
doom originally implanted by 
the Calvinist superstitions of 
his nurse, and apparent in his 
very scepticism his thirst for 
action, his untamable genius 
for rebellion, his proud intensity 
in collision with the filmed 
hollowness of fashionable life, 
all these forces are welded to- 
gether, not in chaos, as might 
have been supposed, but in a 
weird creative harmony. Let 
us cull one example from his 
Ravenna diary : " Hear the car- 
riage order pistols and great- 
coat as usual necessary articles 
weather cold carriage open 



and inhabitants somewhat sav- 
age, rather treacherous and 
highly inflamed by politics.^ 
Fine fellows, though, good 
material for a nation. Out of 
chaos God made a world, am 
out of high passions comes 
people." And out of high 
sions came Byron. If only 
had oftener transcended the dc 
main of the merely passionate 
The Swiss diary a fragmenl 
contains an episode of chj 
acteristic scorn about the En- 
glish lady who exclaimed 
Mont Blanc, " Did you ever 
anything more rural ? " " as U 
it was Highgate or Hampton 01 
Brompton or Haye's ! " wl 
his earliest diary of all shows 
specimen of quite "Don Juan 
calibre : " Went to bed and 
slept dreamlessly, but not re- 
freshingly: awoke and up ai 
hour before being called, bu1 
dawdled three hours in dressing. 
When one subtracts from life 
infancy (which is vegetation), 
sleep, eating and swilling 
buttoning and unbuttoning 
how much remains of down 
right existence? the summer 
of a dormouse." 

But the most methodic 
diary of any, one begini 
while Byron was a boy am 
lasting till 1867, is that of 
Henry Crabb Robinson a man 
whose elevation of spirit, alert- 
ness of mind, and volatile sail 
companioned him with the most 
various intellects of his pro- 
tracted life. The intimate of 
the Clarksons and Mrs Bar- 
bauld, the comrade of Hazlitt, 
the friend and correspondent o| 
Goethe and his court, of Tied 
and Schelling, the acquaintam 
of Schiller and Madame d< 



.899.] 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



83 



>tael, the cherished associate of 
ie whole Lake school of poets, 
le had seen Shelley and Mrs 
Uddons, travelled with Southey 
Paris and Wordsworth to 
[taly, conversed with Coleridge, 
ipped and walked often with 
Lamb, watched the 
lapsodies of Blake, breakfasted 
ith Rogers, chatted with Syd- 
Smith and Lady Blessing- 
(at whose house he met the 
roung Disraeli), discoursed with 
Junsen, and vied with " Con- 
versation " Sharpe ; a philoso- 
ler and Unitarian, a philan- 
iropist on principle, almost 
ie first foreign correspondent 
the 'Times,' and, later, a 
Lsing barrister, sprung 
a lower middle-class that 
now nearly evaporated a 
with temperament as well 
character, with refinement 
well as determination he 
his virtues on the 
illustrious. He seldom 
but he never grovels ; he 
rarely startles, but he never 
intrudes. The want of "liber- 
ality " in his boyish education 
was atoned for by the un- 
checked originality of his char- 
acter and by his visits to 
Germany in her golden age. 
There, besides being a deep 
student, he opened the gates of 
cultivated aristocracy and aris- 
tocratic culture. He was told 
how, at the outset, he had only 
to assert that he was " English " 
to be treated as a " nobleman." 
His chief interest throughout 
the journal is for "characters." 
" The half -literary conversations 
-of half -learned people, the com- 
monplaces of politics and reli- 
gious dispute, are to me intoler- 
able." This is the canon of his 



diary. Of Wordsworth's depth 
and difficulty of expression, of 
Coleridge's eloquent mysticism, 
of Lamb's "antic disposition," 
of Goethe's clear-cut serenity, 
his pages are among the most 
authentic exponents. But they 
are also dedicated to the good- 
ness of smaller men. Above all 
things Robinson possessed the 
" many - travelled heart." His 
patient sympathy with lofti- 
ness of mind is evinced by his 
late correspondence with Lady 
Byron. To him Wordsworth 
addressed the lines beginning 
with " Companion, by whose 
buoyant spirit cheered." With 
some faculty of imagination, 
however, he lacked fancy and 
feeling for the picturesque. 
Venice, in Wordsworth's own 
company, leaves him untouched ; 
and the whole world is to him 
rather a panorama of excellence 
than a landscape of light and 
shade. 

Space presses, and we must 
glance at two recent diaries, not 
omitting the familiar Greville 
by the way. But first a glimpse 
must be given of two diaries in 
the form of letters which have 
been, we think, too little in 
public prominence. We allude 
to the correspondence of Felix 
Mendelssohn, and of Charles 
Dickens. Of the former it may 
well be said that they are 
"words without songs." The 
same pure feeling and exalted 
ideals, affectionate humility, 
conscientious aspiration, and 
pathetic playfulness that per- 
vade the music are the qualities 
of the Letters. We must re- 
luctantly be content with two 
examples : "So I am said to 
have become a saint ! If this 



84 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



is intended to convey what I 
conceive to be the meaning of 
the word, and what your ex- 
pressions lead me to think you 
also understand by it, then I 
can only say that, alas ! I am 
not so, though every day of my 
life I strive with greater earnest- 
ness according to my ability 
more and more to resemble this 
character. If people, however, 
understand by the word ' saint ' 
a ' Pietist,' one of those who lay 
their hands on their laps and 
expect Providence to do their 
work for them, talk of the in- 
compatibility of the heavenly 
calling with the earthly, and 
are incapable of loving with 
their whole hearts any human 
being or anything on earth, 
then, God be praised ! such an 
one I am not, and hope never to 
become." And ,the second is 
like unto it : "I well know that 
for thorough self-cultivation the 
whole of a man's life is required, 
and often does not suffice." 

Dickens throughout the whole 
range of his writings "Travels 
for the great firm of Human 
Interest Brothers." His un- 
approached spirits and sense of 
humour, his rollicking self-con- 
fidence and lovable humanity, 
distinguish his letters also. 
" Lord, what a blessed thing it 
is," he ejaculates in one of them, 
" to read a man who can write ! " 
The Salon-satellites must have 
been shocked at his first im- 
pression of George Sand as of 
"the Queen's monthly nurse." 
How good, too, is that descrip- 
tion of the Paris drama on 
English life, "whose villain was 
" Meester Corn'ill " ; and of Lon- 
don in the dead season, with 
his tailor playing the piano in 



private ! But we would fain 
dwell on a softer phase. " When 
I came in from seeing poor, dea^ 
Watson's grave, Mrs Watson 
asked me to go up into the 
gallery, which I had last seen 
in the days of our merry play. 
We went up and walked into 
the very part he made and was 
so fond of, and she looked out 
of one window and I looked out 
of another, and for the life of 
me I could not decide in my 
own heart whether I should 
console or distress her by going 
and taking her hand and saying 
something of what was naturally 
in my mind. So I said nothing 
and came out again." 

"I am going," remarks Gre- 
ville, in his matter-of-fact way, 
"if not too lazy, to note down 
the everyday nothings of my 
life, and see what it looks like." 
The " everyday nothings " com- 
prise some of the most serious 
events in English history. Gre- 
ville's prosaic nonchalance be- 
longs to the Whigs of George 
the Fourth and Worst. His 
diary is rich in green-room 
gossip of politics and society ; 
but his jottings are dusty with 
Whig exclusiveness and official 
red-tape. As we read them, we 
discern a wooden man of the 
world, frivolous upon caste-com- 
pulsion, self - complacent even 
while he deplores the unintel- 
lectuality of his routine, a pre- 
cise, prudent, punctilious failure, 
abounding in cautious insight 
but bare of generous impulse. 
There is nothing spontaneous 
about him. One of the news- 
papers has undiscriminatingly) 
termed Mr George Russell "a 
modern Greville." That may 
serve as a popular label, but as 



1899.] 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



85 



a cap it will not fit. Mr Russell 
is, on the contrary, a witty en- 
thusiast, a rare modern com- 
bination. Under the Georgian 
rhetoric of his style, the occa- 
sional bitterness of his innuendo, 
his digressive airiness, burns an 
ardour for losing causes, a zeal 
for high standards, a glow of 
loyalty and friendship. An 
after-dinner fanatic, at once 
fervent and humorous, he is 
the antipodes of Greville, who 
is dry and unreciprocal. Gre- 
ville was never a brilliant talker. 
Mr Kussell is the last of the 
old conversationalists. Greville 
misses the literary touch. Mr 
Kussell is essentially a man of 
letters. Greville is most dis- 
creet. Mr Kussell is perhaps 
sometimes defective in this re- 
gard ; but his satire of con- 
temporaries is the sort that 

"just the medium hit, 
And heals with morals what it hurts 
with wit." 

Mr Russell, like Lord Gran- 
ville, is " un radical qui aime la 
bonne societe." His 'Recollec- 
tions' group reflections round 
tonalities and subjects dis- 
ict but not ordered in rota- 
tion, scarcely even in sequence. 
menu is inviting. The hors 
ceuvres of "Links with the 
*ast " precede the pieces de re- 
ristance of " Religion and Moral- 
" "Social Equalisation and 
lelioration," "The Evangeli- 
cal Influence," and Politics. 
Here as with a sorbet the ban- 
quet simulates a close, to re- 
commence with the releves of 
I." Oratory and Conversation." 
The chaudfroid of " Clergymen " 
is followed by the yibier of 
"Titles" and the salad of "Re- 



partee." Royalties and Prince- 
doms compose the entremets, 
and Lord Beaconsfield, the sav- 
oury a relish, as we shall point 
out, overseasoned. " Flatterers " 
and " Bores," " Epitaphs " 
and "Advertisements," stand 
for ices and liqueurs, topped 
by the dessert of "Parodies," 
"Children," and the like; and, 
last not least the roses of the 
repast " An old Photograph- 
Book." " Links with the Past " 
are by no means conventional. 
There is old-world Lady Robert 
Seymour, who "used the potti- 
cary " whenever she sent for the 
doctor; there is the Earl of 
Bathurst, whose private school 
reserved a bench for the little 
sons of peers ; there is ancient 
" Polly Arnold " of Harrow, who 
had sold "cribs" to Byron. 
And there is Mr Russell's father, 
page at George IV.'s coronation, 
who discussed the 'Bride of 
Lammermoor ' with Scott be- 
fore its authorship was divulged. 
We may be allowed in this con- 
nection to pay our own tribute 
to the memory of Lord Charles 
James Fox Russell, whose very 
names perpetuate history, and 
whose kindness, enthusiasm, and 
simplicity we remember and re- 
vere. We miss Mrs Norton in 
the gallery ; perhaps this omis- 
sion may be remedied hereafter. 
The "Pieces de Resistance" chap- 
ters afford a genuine contribu- 
tion to solid history. First-rate, 
worthy of Thackeray or of 
Disraeli, is the figure of that 
Marquis of Abercorn who al- 
ways went out shooting in his 
blue ribbon, and required his 
housemaids to wear white kid 
gloves when they made his bed, 
and his wife to use the family 



86 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



coach when she eloped. 1818 
is far from 1718, but this orna- 
ment of his order is in close 
likeness to that immortal Duke 
of Somerset the feeble terror 
of three successive Courts who 
ordered his daughters to be 
standing sentinels of his siesta, 
and, on awaking to find one of 
them dropped into a chair from 
sheer fatigue, curtailed her in- 
heritance. Mr Russell's favour- 
ites in "Conversation " are chiefly 
of the Holland House School. 
We could have wished for more 
of Lord Granville the British 
Talleyrand. Again, of Lord 
Bowen we should like to have 
found the dulcet reply to the 
question whether a successful 
prig was not becoming " almost 
interesting " "I think that 
perhaps when I have the pleas- 
ure of meeting him in another 
world, he may just begin to be 
interesting " ; and of Lowe, that 
retort about the excellent "or- 
gan " for the articles of public 
men "Organ, yes; but you 
must take the monkey with it." 
Among " Clergymen " he oddly 
enough omits Dr Magee ; while 
in "Repartee" we miss that of 
Jowett to his secretary explod- 
ing into fits of officious laughter 
at an anecdote of the Master's 
" Don't do that, Knight ; you 
are not my wife." But these 
are our own recollections. 
Manning's medieval presence 
and Caesarism, Lord Houghton, 
with the subacidity of his old 
age amiably erased, are speak- 
ing portraits. But the "Lord 
Shaftesbury " who, as patrician, 
scholar, and polished host, sur- 
rendered a career, dedicated 
privilege to humanity, and con- 
secrated it to God, is a real 



revelation. Lord Beaconsfield 
is handled by Mr Russell with a ^ 
perverse mixture of sympathy^ 
and suspicion, applause and 
apology. Throughout he quotes 
him with evident delight even 
oftener than Dickens; and if 
morale be at stake, he protests 
a " sneaking sympathy " for the 
genius who penned that inspir- 
ing passage concerning Youth 
in ' Coningsby.' Yet he dwells 
with deliberate satire on his 
alleged arts as courtier, and 
ostentation as host. Had we 
room we could answer exhaust- 
ively. We might have enlarged 
on the ethics of anecdote. Dis- 
raeli was a dreamer and a 
poet. Imagination coloured his 
thoughts and actions. Like 
Canning, he was early mis- 
named "Adventurer" by the 
jealousy and prejudice of a 
Dunciad. Like Canning, he 
will be justified by history. 
Throughout his career the suf- 
fering million appealed to him 
with increasing power, but the 
shrieks of paid agitation were 
never "vox Dei" in his ears. 
No more than Carlyle could he 
tolerate the material creed of 
Utilitarianism. Like Gladstone 
himself, he sought to acclimatise 
the germs of inevitable democ- 
racy in the native air and soil 
of the constitution. His ideas 
are already triumphing. To 
quote his "diabolical clever- 
ness" at the time when an 
imperious tribune was out of 
place, is as out of place as was 
then the imperious tribune. To 
bear out his pretentious hospi- 
tality by a story about ices ai-' l 
Hughenden, which is in fact a 
mot long before of Sir David 
Dundas ; to substantiate the 



1899.] 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



87 



"grotesque performances of his 
middle life " by a passage about 
t " riding an Arabian mare across 
country," which, unless we mis- 
take, occurs in the ' Home Let- 
ters,' and refers to his fantastic 
youth, is, to say the least, un- 
convincing. Nor can we admit 
the myth of his demand for 
m- existent tenants as pall- 
irers for his wife. He was 
)ly too shrewd for the parade 
territoriality at the expense 
being made ridiculous at 
lome. But this is a digression. 
Couching " An old Photograph- 
)k " it would ill become the 
>resent writer to speak. He 
Is the glamour of those 
tys with gratitude and regret, 
we bid the volume farewell 
we re-echo Cicero, " Departing 
I;i se a guest who has well dined." 
If Mr Kussell's conversation- 
jts hail from Holland House, 
iir Mountstuart Grant Duffs 
akin to Madame Mohl and 
Seniors. We could desire 
irger limits to saunter through 
le severer Academe of the 
Notes from a Diary.' For 
lemical Sir Mountstuart 
jmains, despite his exceptional 
Ets and opportunities, and his 
>ng conversance with affairs, 
for is this disparagement, 
outlook of Balliol at its 
mith is one of delicate gravity 
)f culture applied to career, 
its fastidiousness of tread be 
low and then somewhat the 
dntiness of Agag, if its omnis- 
iient studies and studied omnis- 
ience recall the palmy com- 
icements of the 'Saturday 
jview,' they are none the less 
lefinite and active. Sir Mount- 
:uart was from the first a 
tolar, a traveller, a politician, 



a historian, and a lover of 
science. Long before his official 
eminence he moved among the 
best in Germany and France. 
He is always perceptive. His 
style is full of nicety and sug- 
gestion. And yet it seems to 
us there is a want of elasticity. 
The passages have been re- 
touched. They lose some of 
their freshness by the subse- 
quent glosses. They are in 
fact Commentaries rather than 
Diaries. College essays are 
quoted, and many of the 
'Notes' resemble them. There 
is also a want of selection. The 
register is blent with the recital. 
We are told, for instance, of a 
consultation with a German 
oculist just after a lecture on 
Austria in 1851. We cannot 
be interested in the author's 
eyes as we are in Stella's. He 
dances from disquisition to per- 
sonality. There are too many 
figureheads among the figures. 
But here criticism must end. 
Like the late Lord Houghton, 
a patriotic cosmopolitan with an 
abnormal memory, our author 
gazes at o'nce on Europe and 
England with a keen eye for 
movements and an enthusiasm 
for every noble effort. How 
fine is that phrase of his about 
Maurice's sermons * ' spiritual 
champagne " ! How interest- 
ing his glimpses of Disraeli " in 
the faint dawn discoursing of 
Lord John Russell " ! And he 
owns the saving grace of 
humour. Excellent is the de- 
scription of Carlyle trotting 
Emerson round London and 
vainly endeavouring to make 
him believe in "the Deil." Ad- 
mirable, too, is his account of 
Wilkes's dream, where Lord, 



88 



Men who have kept a Diary. 



[Jan. 



Sandwich, "on the other side 
of the Styx," is made to swear 
because the champagne was not 
iced, and the ghostly innkeeper 
"shook his head very sadly 
and said, 'No ices here, no 
ices here.' " Nor should we 
neglect his faculty for land- 
scape painting : " Great banks 
of cloud lying along the south- 
west ; all the rest clear. Not 
even the highest leaves of the 
trees moving. Snowberries 
seen against the azaleas with 
their leaves all red. Hill of 
Stonyley under the sunset. 
Song of the redbreast remind- 
ing us of Cornish's lines, quoted 
in the ' Christian Year ' for 
the twenty -first Sunday after 
Trinity." 

From Pepys to Grant -Duff 
what a distance ! yet these 
diaries bridge it over. Our 
cursory pictures have been only 
vignettes, and we have perforce 
omitted many Defoe's 'Tour,' 
Speaker Onslow, Eckermann, 



Lockhart, Moore, Hawthorne, 
and Boyle ; the Letters of 
Thackeray and Disraeli, among ' 
the number; and there are 
countless "women who have 
kept a diary." Has not Mark 
Twain insisted on "The Diary 
of Adam and Eve " ? 

To "men who have kept a 
diary " we owe a deep debt of 
gratitude. They take us behind 
the scenes of character and 
achievement. They carry on 
the apostolic succession of ex- 
perience. Pepys was the friend 
of Evelyn. Swift in his youth 
might have seen Evelyn in his 
age ; Walpole in his boyhood 
might have beheld Swift. Wal- 
pole wrote for the Berrys. The 
Berrys lived to know both John- 
son and Robinson. Grant-Duff 
records his meeting with the 
latter. The continuity of life 
thus popularises the uniform- 
ity of nature, " Yitai lampada 
tradunt," 

W. SlCHEL. 



1899.] 



The Preservation of African Elephants. 



89 



THE PRESERVATION OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS. 



FEOM time to time during 
the last few years there have 
appeared in the 'Times' and 
other English papers letters 
dealing with the subject of 
the probable eventual extinc- 
tion of the African elephant. 
Most of these urge that some 
steps should be taken to pre- 
vent it, but scarcely any practi- 
cal suggestions have been made. 
Some propose that " sanctu- 
aries" should be formed, in 
Somaliland or elsewhere, with 
the object of preserving ele- 
phants. All unite in deploring 
the fact that the African ele- 
phant is being killed for its 
ivory, and seem to be of opinion 
that its slaughter can be pre- 
vented by legislation in Eng- 
land. 

There is evident in most of 
such correspondence a certain 
want of knowledge on the part 
of the writers as to the real 
state of the case. In some in- 
stances it is apparently assumed 
that the elephant is being 
directly exterminated by Euro- 
peans, and that heavy licences 
and fees would secure the de- 
sired object. 

The actual fact is, that the 
African native throughout the 
continent, since the introduction 
of firearms, urged on by the 
high value of ivory in European 
markets, has slaughtered ele- 
phants wherever he could find 
them, regardless of size or of 
sex ; and so long as ivory of all 
descriptions is a valuable trade 
article, elephants will continue 
to be indiscriminately killed, 



until, in many portions of 
Africa, they will be totally ex- 
terminp d. 

In S't L th Africa the case was 
somewhat different. Almost 
up to the Zambesi may be 
called a white man's country, 
and south of that river Euro- 
peans are to a great extent 
directly responsible for the 
extermination of elephants. 
North of the Zambesi, the 
number shot by Europeans is 
trifling when compared with 
the quantities destroyed by 
natives. 

To prevent wholesale slaugh- 
ter, in the present condition of 
affairs in tropical Africa, is 
impossible, except in extremely 
restricted districts. There is 
probably no portion of the 
country which we have a better 
hold upon, and in which natives 
are more Bunder control, than 
the British Central Africa Pro- 
tectorate. Yet even within this 
comparatively small area it is 
found difficult to prevent the 
indiscriminate killing of ele- 
phants by natives. Africans 
seldom inform against one an- 
other in matters of this kind, 
and in spite of all regulations 
and precautions it not unfre- 
quently happens that elephants 
are killed even close to Govern- 
ment stations without know- 
ledge of the fact reaching offi- 
cial ears till long afterwards, if 
at all 

When, therefore, it is found 
so difficult to take this matter 
in hand, in a portion of Africa 
which is now comparatively full 



90 



The Preservation of African Elephants. 



[Jan. 



of Government stations, it may 
readily be surmised that there 
is a very poor chance of our 
being able to protect in any 
way elephants throughout thou- 
sands of square miles which are 
practically free from control. 

With regard to sanctuaries, 
Nature has provided, in certain 
parts of Africa, sanctuaries bet- 
ter than any we could form in 
Somaliland, which accomplish 
more than any artificial sanc- 
tuary could do. Vast portions 
of the Congo basin, dense forest 
country, are practically a natu- 
ral sanctuary, and elephants 
will, no doubt, continue to be 
fairly plentiful in that part of 
Africa long after they have 
been exterminated from more 
healthy and open parts. 

There would be no great dif- 
ficulty experienced in forming 
sanctuaries of quite limited 
areas, dots on the map of 
Africa, provided funds were 
forthcoming for the necessary 
(heavy) expenditure. There is, 
indeed, such a sanctuary within 
a few miles of Port Elizabeth 
in South Africa, in the Knysna 
forest, where a large herd of 
elephants are protected and 
roam unmolested, 1500 miles 
distant from the nearest spot 
where any other wild elephants 
are found. In the British Cen- 
tral Africa Protectorate there 
is a district, on the Shire 
river, known as the " Elephant 
Marsh," which up to 1889 was 
frequented by large numbers of 
elephants. This has now been 
formed into a game sanctuary ; 
the elephants which left it in 
1889 (or the remnants of the 
herds) are now again commenc- 
ing to return, and it is hoped 



that before long a large herd 
will become established there, > 
While, however, such preserves* 
are interesting, it would be 
futile to suppose that they can 
have any appreciable effect 
with regard to the main ques- 
tion of preventing the whole- 
sale slaughter of elephants in 
Africa. 

" Sanctuaries " of reasonable 
extent, moreover, are very ex- 
pensive affairs that is, if game 
within their limits is to be 
thoroughly protected. To pro- 
claim a district a sanctuary is 
of no avail unless the necessary 
measures are taken to effectu- 
ally guard against molestation 
by natives or Europeans. 

Now that the recent success- 
ful campaign on the Mle has 
assured the speedy development 
of the Sudan, Khartoum will 
doubtless become before long a 
market for large quantities of 
ivory from the Equatorial pro- 
vinces, Bahr el Grhazal, Wadai, 
Darfur, and the regions west 
and south of Abyssinia ; and it 
becomes increasingly necessary 
that some practical steps be 
taken throughout Africa with 
a view to a proper system for 
the protection of small ele- 
phants, and especially of the 
females. If we really wish 
honestly to take in hand this 
question, some course must be 
adopted more far-reaching in 
its effects than the establish- 
ment of a few small preserves, 
or parks, here and there in the 
more civilised parts of the con- 
tinent. We must, in fact, go 
to the root of the matter. 11 
would not be possible, n< 
would it be at all desirable, 
do away with the value 



1899.] 



The Preservation of African Elephants. 



91 



ivory throughout the world, to 
make it worthless. The mak- 
ing of the ivory trade a Gov- 
ernment monopoly, moreover, 
in this or that portion of the 
continent, in itself has little or 
no effect on the general ques- 
tion. Any country to be newly 
developed must have exports 
and there are very few ready- 
made articles of export in Cen- 
tral Africa. Ivory is the chief 
of these, and upon this alone 
many districts have for genera- 
tions past depended for their 
imports. West Africa has palm- 
oil, rubber, and other staple pro- 
ducts. South and No*rth Africa 
have many exports, but ivory 
has hitherto been almost the 
only export of Central Africa. 
It would therefore not be ad- 
visable to put an end to that 
trade or to make it a worthless 
one until, at any rate, there is 
something to take its place. If 
possible, it would obviously be 
far better to so regulate it that 
it may become a permanent 
trade. There is, I think, a way 
in which it would be possible to 
prevent the slaughter of small 
elephants, and to regulate the 
ivory trade in such a manner 
that it will not eventually be- 
come extinct. 

If all the Powers and States 
holding territory in Africa would 
agree to strictly prohibit the ex- 
port of tusks under a certain 
weight say 14 Ib. (or portions 
of such tusks), and would faith- 
fully carry out such agreement, 
all small ivory would become 
valueless to the owners. The 
African does not like to waste 
his powder he would soon 
cease slaughtering the small 
and undersized elephants. Not 



many cow tusks exceed 12 Ib. 
in weight; and one result of 
this prohibition would be, that 
in course of time, as soon as the 
news had spread throughout 
tropical Africa that small tusks 
were no longer of any value, 
neither cow elephants nor under- 
sized beasts would be shot for 
their ivory. It might be expedi- 
ent even to go a step further, 
to make it a criminal offence to 
be in possession of tusks under 
14 Ib. in weight. 

There can, I think, be little 
doubt that if such a course were 
agreed upon and carried out, 
the result would be that the 
present indiscriminate slaughter 
of small elephants and cows 
would before long cease. 

Unanimous agreement would 
be necessary. It would have 
little effect for only one or two 
Powers to prohibit the export 
of small ivory : the inevitable re- 
sult would be, that small tusks, 
which at present reach a market 
through such territories, would 
find a new channel through terri- 
tories of other Powers who might 
have no prohibition in force, and 
thus the trade of the prohibiting 
Powers would suffer to the gain 
of others. It would be essential 
that such agreement should be 
universal throughout the con- 
tinent of Africa. 

Whether it will ever be found 
possible to catch and tame 
African elephants and to make 
them of practical use, as in 
India, seems doubtful : not that 
the African elephant, when 
caught, would prove more diffi- 
cult to tame than the Indian, 
but because, owing to the very 
different conditions prevailing 
in Africa, it would probably be 



92 



The Preservation of African Elephants. 



[Jan. 



found impossible to obtain them 
in any quantities; and, when 
obtained, the nature of the 
African native unfits him for 
work requiring steady care and 
patience. The habits of African 
elephants are not altogether 
similar to those of the Indian. 
Whereas in India elephants are 
found in thick jungle, in the 
greater part of the eastern por- 
tion of Central Africa there is 
very little of what could be 
called jungle, and elephants 
are found in much more open 
country, sometimes in swamps 
and plains ; at others, in the 
park - like, somewhat sparsely 
wooded country which covers 
such vast areas north of the 
Zambesi. Through all this 
bush country annual fires run, 
with the result that there is 
no thick jungle. Elephants in 
this country are so constantly 
harassed by native hunters that 
they never remain in one local- 
ity for more than a few hours, 
and a day later are perhaps 
twenty miles away. Thus 
keddahs would be out of the 



question. With an Indian 
population in Africa, possibly 
the elephant might be tamed < 
and used. 

At the present date various 
regulations dealing with ele- 
phants and the ivory question 
are in force in different terri- 
tories of Central, West, and 
East Africa. In most cases 
licences, involving the payment 
of fees of varying amounts, 
have to be taken out by those 
wishing to shoot elephants. To 
all intents and purposes, how- 
ever, all these regulations when 
in operation only affect Euro- 
peans. In the British Central 
Africa Protectorate, during a 
period of seven years not half- 
a-dozen licences have been taken 
out. What is wanted, there- 
fore, is some method of dealing 
with the elephant question 
which will affect the African 
native. And any measures 
taken which do not reach the 
native himself throughout all 
the limits of Central Africa will 
fail to have much effect. 

ALFRED SHABPE. 



1899. 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



93 



MONTROSE AND ARGYLL IN FICTION. 



THE uncompromising student 
of history is seldom interested 
in historical romances unless he 
adventure among them with the 
intention of pulling them to 
pieces. And it will hardly be 
denied that he may spend a 
busy holiday in the pastime. 
The ignorance which the general 
reader is not ashamed to con- 
fess may not be the reason why 
so many authors are so eager 
to parade their historical ac- 
quirements ; but at least it 
promises them immunity from 
the hostile criticism of those 
more ignorant than themselves. 
There are some who maintain 
that in historical romances the 
accuracy of the author is of 
very secondary importance, and 
that no story should be con- 
demned for its historical defici- 
encies, if in other respects it 
fulfils the requirements of the 
best fiction. This is as much as 
to say that an author may re- 
create the historic dead in any 
guise he may choose, so long as 
he gives them the similitude of 
life, and makes them consistent 
with themselves and their sur- 
roundings. You are reminded 
of certain historical romances 
wherein the details are a mir- 
acle of research and industry, 
but the romance lifeless, colour- 
less, and unreadable. By the 
intuition of genius many an 
author has persuaded himself 
that he can catch the spirit of 
past ages without being careful 
that his puppets should wear 
the costumes or exhibit the 
habits proper to their time and 



country, or that they should 
even correspond in character 
with their original prototypes. 
But why should such romances 
be called historical; or why 
should the authors of them 
make any pretence at histori- 
cal verisimilitude when they 
have no intention to attain it ? 
Sir Walter Scott was not an 
accurate historian, as some men 
count accuracy; but he gener- 
ally knew so much more than 
his critics, and so great was 
his common-sense and sane his 
judgment, that his inaccuracies 
were seldom of much account. 
He wrote in the first place for 
the amusement of those who 
read him; but he was intim- 
ately acquainted with the his- 
tory and the colour of the times 
of which he treated. His know- 
ledge was so curious and so 
wide, that with perfect ease he 
re-created the past with what 
brilliant colouring and spacious 
humour his genius was capable. 
Naturally, where Scott has left 
his mark few have cared to 
enter into competition with him. 
Comparisons are unjust, but 
they are sure to be drawn be- 
tween authors who select the 
same subjects. Lately there 
have been published two books 
which treat more or less of the 
times and scenes depicted in ' A 
Legend of Montrose.' Mr Neil 
Munro in his 'John Splendid,' 
and Mr MacLaren Cobban in his 
'Angel of the Covenant,' deal 
with different periods of that 
stupendous struggle between 
Montrose and Argyll which 



94 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction, 



[Jan. 



makes the history of the times 
a romance in itself. Neither 
author need fear any compari- 
son with Sir Walter in the 
matter of their historical pro- 
ficiency. Mr Munro's book is 
in some respects a quite unique 
contribution to our knowledge 
of the Highlands of Scotland 
at that period, a brilliant inter- 
pretation of the Highland char- 
acter ; while Mr Cobban's book, 
from the merely historical point 
of view, is a careful and lucid 
presentation of the times and 
men of which he treats. 

In his life of Montrose, Mark 
Napier has drawn a portrait of 
the Great Marquis which cer- 
tainly does not err through 
any lack of appreciation. It 
is an enthusiastic eulogy, yet 
its honesty has never been 
seriously impugned nor its es- 
sential accuracy denied. But 
no historian who is obviously 
so much in love with his hero 
could be trusted to give an im- 
partial account of his character 
and achievements, and at the 
same time deal justly with the 
enemies of that hero. To 
Napier, Montrose was the al- 
most divine hero, and Argyll 
the villain, mean, treacherous, 
and contemptible. It is said 
that the devil is not so black 
as he is painted; and even 
Argyll, you may be sure, had 
some good points. You need 
not, however, look for them in 
Napier's life of Montrose. But 
if you must not go to Napier 
for an impartial picture of 
Argyll, you may well be satis- 
fied with his portrait of Mon- 
trose. There is not a more 
winsome and brilliant figure in 
history. A poet, a statesman, 



a soldier, and a martyr: the 
combination is so all-embrac- 
ing as to suggest exaggeration, j 
And yet it is the plain truth. 
Not a great poet, he is yet 
among the immortals, because 
in a happy moment he suc- 
ceeded in putting himself into 
a ballad which must always 
be quoted as the lyric of the 
very Lancelot of Cavaliers. As 
a statesman he had foresight, 
judgment, and prudence, al- 
though for one so intrepid in 
action, Montrose was curiously 
temperate in council. He was 
simple and sincere. The happy 
faculty was his to give a clear 
and straight answer to the 
questions put to him by fate 
and circumstance; and there 
you have the admission that 
he was not subtle something 
even wanting, perhaps, in 
diplomacy. In this Argyll 
had him at advantage, and 
pinned him fast. But was 
the loss with Montrose in the 
end ? Had he been other than 
he was, would he at this dis- 
tance of time be the gracious 
figure he is? For he stands 
out from among his contem- 
poraries by reason of this sim- 
plicity and honesty, quite as 
much as by his brilliant fame 
as a soldier. Charles I. could 
not have had a better counsellor 
than Montrose; but Charles, 
though he came to recognise 
before the end the greatness of 
this Bayard of the North, with 
his usual bad luck did not do 
so in time. Had it been other- 
wise, the history of England 
and Scotland might read very 
differently to-day. For he was 
a great soldier as well as a 
statesman. His campaigns 



L899. 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



95 



dnst the successive armies 
ised against him by the Cov- 
it have gained for him a 
ique place in the history 
warfare. Reading of them, 
rou are reminded on a small 
jale of the achievements of 
lexander and Napoleon. In 
three there was genius, 
>mbined with physical energy 
lothing less than daemonic, 
rhich by a miracle they trans- 
titted to their followers. The 
>rced marches of Montrose will 
>mpare with anything of the 
and in history. With a hand- 
of Highland caterans and 
Id Irishmen, whose weapons 
icluded bows and arrows, and 
inty stones picked from the 
dllside, he fought and won six 
ittles, against a foe in each 
tstance superior in numbers, 
ivalry, and artillery. But it 
/as a cruel fortune that fought 
igainst Montrose and ruined 
im in the end. Had not 
icDonald and Aboyne for- 
him after the battle of 
alsyth, he must have brought 
le Covenant to its knees, 
hit it was not to be ; and 
Pate, not Corydon, vanquished 
at Philiphaugh. But 
m had he been able to 
forces with the king, it 
too late for him then to 
rolled back the tide of 
ictory that was carrying 
Cromwell to supreme power, 
le thing alone is certain, that 
all his generals Charles had 
it one who was Cromwell's 
itch, and they never met. 
his appearance, the various 
miclers are agreed that he 
ras of middle height, and well- 
>roportioned, fair, and with 
eyes. Of his manner, a 



hostile scribe noted that it was 
stately to affectation. And 
what if it were? From his 
boyhood he dreamed of doing 
great deeds, and was a man 
in everything but years when 
he was seventeen. He paid 
fastidious attention to his dress, 
so that his appearance should 
always be worthy of himself 
and of the occasion. Even 
on the morning of his execu- 
tion he did not forget what 
was due to the head which 
should shortly adorn the Tol- 
booth of Edinburgh. Such 
trifles are eloquent of the type 
of man. He loved women, and 
art, and flowers : that did not 
prevent him from being the most 
brilliant soldier of his time, and 
a pattern to posterity. 

Argyll was not only the 
enemy, he was the antithesis, 
of Montrose. His appearance 
was repellent, and his disposi- 
tion reserved and furtive. He 
was of a scholarly habit of 
mind, and, like many another 
statesman, his books were his 
dearest companions, and often 
his sole consolation. But his 
party in the State set no store 
by such literary attainments as 
he could boast, and posterity 
knows only by hearsay that 
Gillespie Gruamach was a 
student of men and books. 
His statesmanship has been as 
bitterly condemned as at one 
time it was praised. In private 
life he may have been a paragon 
of virtue, but as a statesman 
he was absolutely unscrupulous. 
His supporters forgave him 
everything; his enemies forgave 
him nothing. He did not in- 
vent the Covenant, but he used 
it to further his own ends. 



96 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



[Jan. 



Doubtless he believed his policy 
was the best that could be 
devised for Scotland, but it got 
mixed up with his own personal 
ambition. It would be unjust 
to call him a hypocrite ; for 
under the cloak of religion in 
those days, and even now, men 
thought they were justified in 
avenging their own wrongs. 
The deception was gross enough 
to permit them to commit mur- 
der in the name of the Lord. 
Argyll's religion was not a very 
beautiful thing ; but that was 
no reason why it should not 
have suited him, and held him 
tight as in a vice. It is quite 
certain that, like the skilful 
politician he was, he saw the 
trend of Scottish opinion, and 
shaped his policy accordingly. 
Such are not the great men of 
the world, but they make his- 
tory all the same. Montrose 
was a greater statesman than 
Argyll, because his mind was 
less trammelled ; he had a more 
manly ideal that is to say, a 
more healthy conception of 
what men's lives on the earth 
should be. This is evident 
enough if you consider that we 
of the nineteenth century could 
have lived and enjoyed liberty 
of thought and action under 
Montrose; but to be subservient 
to the policy of Argyll, and 
his black-hatted, black-coated 
mob, would be so intolerable 
that death were not so hideous 
an alternative. 

' A Legend of Montrose,' 
though a favourite with all 
lovers of Scott, is not one of 
his masterpieces. It contains 
one of the happiest creations of 
his genius ; but, superb as he is, 
Dugald Dalgetty cannot carry 



the 'Legend' into the first rank 
of his creator's works. Cer- 
tainly the manner in whicV, 
you are introduced to Montrose 
is not very happy. It is true 
that he escaped out of England 
into Scotland disguised as a 
groom. But when he joined 
MacDonald and the Chiefs at 
Blair Athole and unfurled the 
Royal Standard, he appeared 
without disguise, accompanied 
by a single attendant and 
dressed in kilts. The scene 
is well described by Mark 
Napier. But Scott preferred 
to introduce him as a groom 
named Anderson, in attend- 
ance on his cousin Lord Kil- 
pont. Although you are aware 
that the somewhat forward 
servant of the young lord is 
the Marquis of Montrose, yet, 
to all intents and purposes, he 
is Anderson until he discloses 
himself to the Chiefs, and the 
whole effect is somewhat disap- 
pointing. The scene between 
Montrose and Sir Duncan 
Campbell is excellent ; and it is 
,the only one where Montrose is 
put on his mettle. He is not 
one of Sir Walter's great his- 
torical portraits ; and it is in the 
purely explanatory parts of the 
narrative that you get a glimpse 
of Scott's estimate of him. The 
common charge brought against 
Montrose is that he joined the 
Covenant because he had been 
slighted at Court ; and that he 
deserted the Covenant because 
Argyll, and not himself, was 
given the chief place in council 
and command. Yet the date 
of his reception by Charles and 
that of his signing the Covenant 
cannot be made to agree; and 
he parted with the Covenanters 



1899.] 



Montr ose and Argyll in Fiction. 



97 



because they and not he had 
been false to the true conception 
jpf the Covenant. Yet Scott 
seems to have accepted the view 
of him that was entertained by 
his enemies. His portrait of 
Argyll is on the whole better 
than that of Montrose. You 
are confronted with Argyll in 
his own castle, surrounded with 
flatterers, and with the great 
Dalgetty as a foil. For one 
whose sympathies were always 
strongly enlisted on the side 
which he espoused, Scott is won- 
derfully impartial so much so, 
that his treatment of Argyll is 
even more considerate than his 
treatment of Montrose. He will 
not allow that the chief who 
ran away at Inverlochy was a 
coward, because when he was 
led to execution he behaved 
with becoming firmness. But 
he regrets the devastation made 
by the bands whom Montrose 
led through the country of 
Argyll, and says it has been 
"repeatedly and justly quoted 
as a blot on his actions and 
character." It was an es- 
sential point in Montrose's 
scheme that the military power 
of Argyll in Scotland, and 
especially in the Highlands, 
should be destroyed. Argyll 
had turned him out of house 
and home, and there would un- 
doubtedly be the satisfaction of 
revenge in paying MacCallum 
More back in his own coin. 
But it was never the practice 
of Montrose to visit the horrors 
of war on the helpless and in- 
nocent. For any excesses of this 
^kind that occurred in the Camp- 
bell country blame must not be 
attached to Montrose, whose 
character and reputation in this 
VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



respect need no vindication. He 
was simply unable to prevent 
the wild savages whom he led 
from obeying their instincts. 
Most of the chiefs with him 
had wrongs to avenge, and they 
took their own way of doing it. 
He had divided his force into 
three bands, one of which he 
led himself. The other two 
bands had leaders from whom 
the enemies of their clans need 
expect no quarter. The charge 
of wanton cruelty could with 
much greater justice be brought 
against him who burned to the 
ground the bonnie house o' 
Airlie. 

But the interest of 'A Leg- 
end of Montrose ' has very little 
to do either with Montrose or 
Argyll. Dugald Dalgetty is 
the hero of the romance. There 
are some who are not ashamed 
to confess that they find Dal- 
getty wearisome. He is said 
to be monotonous. As a com- 
panion on a campaign it is just 
possible that the famous Bitt- 
master might prove himself an 
intolerable bore. He would 
hardly be described as a boon 
companion. But the charm of 
Dalgetty is the delightfully fresh 
and naive way he behaves in 
the different scenes which he has 
made immortal. He is always 
Dalgetty, and yet quite differ- 
ent with Montrose, with Argyll, 
with Sir Duncan Campbell, and 
above all with his prot6g6, the 
unfortunate Ranald of the Mist. 
In this respect he has the 
variety of all the great humor- 
ous creations in literature. And 
not only is he immortal himself. 
He has extended the immortality 
of another. How many thou- 
sands would have gone to their 
G 



98 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



[Jan. 



graves unconscious of the very 
existence of the invincible Gus- 
tavus Adolphus, the Lion of 
the North and the bulwark of 
Protestantism, had it not been 
for his faithful Rittmaster, 
Dugald Dalgetty of Drum- 
thwacket ? 

In ' John Splendid ' 1 Mr Neil 
Munro has drawn a vivid pic- 
ture of the scenes which were 
once familiar to Dalgetty, but 
which had not previously been 
described with any degree of 
intimacy. Mr Munro's previ- 
ous book, i The Lost Pibroch,' 
not only was evidence of an 
author who must henceforth be 
reckoned with as something new 
and strong in contemporary 
literature ; it was a revelation 
of the Highlands and of the 
Highland character as fascinat- 
ing as it was authentic. The 
mystery of the mountains ; the 
gloom and terror they provoke, 
not less than the joy and buoy- 
ancy ; the colour and witchery 
of Nature, all these were ex- 
pressed with the unfaltering 
touch of the artist who is sure 
of himself. The effect of their 
surroundings on the men who 
live among the hills ; their 
savage instincts, superstitions, 
poetry, these also were ex- 
pressed adequately for the first 
time in the language of the 
despised Sassenach. It was 
evident that the author knew 
his Celt from the inside ; that 
he sympathised with him as 
only he can who is blood of his 
blood. The artist likewise had 
a style of his own that com- 
manded admiration. Although 



it was the author's first book, it 
was the work of no tyro, but 
of one who could stand on hi 
own merit, and abide judgment 
without favour. It was in- 
evitable, therefore, that Mr 
Munro's next book should be 
kindly welcomed and keenly 
scrutinised. 

It is impossible to compare 
a romance with a volume of 
short stories, except in so far as 
they have something in common. 
And 'John Splendid' has a 
great deal in common with ' The 
Lost Pibroch.' For both deal 
with Highland places and High- 
land hearts. In this respect 
Munro's new book amply fi 
the promise of the earlier one 
There is no falling away, and ii 
several instances a marked ad- 
vance. As a descriptive writer, 
it would be difficult to name hi 
rival. Those who have mani 
novels to read are generalb 
shy of descriptions of nati 
scenery. It is so easy to d< 
it badly. Mr Munro descril 
Nature well because he loves it, 
because it is an essential point 
in his story, and because he is a 
consummate artist. The mine 
characters in 'John Splendid 
are as well done as those 
the 'Lost Pibroch,' which is 
much as to say that they ai 
as well done as they need ev< 
be. John Lorn, the bard 01 
Keppoch, with his ridiculoi 
conceit, his childish and in- 
satiable love of praise, his 
of song, and the high sense 
responsibility with which 
avowed it, is just such a sket( 
as Mr Munro has taught us 



1 John Splendid : The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of 
By Neil Munro. Fifth edition. William Blackwood & Sons. 



1899. 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



99 



expect from him. The humour 
of it is so refreshing, the reality 
&o convincing. Or take the 
scene with the widow of Glencoe, 
so exquisite in its blending of 
pathos and grim humour. Hob 
Stewart of Appin, too, who had 
lost his ears, and covered the 
loss with his bonnet, is he not 
a humorous dog, though as 
wanting in every Christian 
virtue as a Highland stot ! 
There is not a character in the 
book, however briefly described, 
but is done to the life. They 
step across the heather, strong- 
limbed and full-blooded, lusty 
with life, and full of Highland 
pride and cunning : no phantoms 
of the brain, but living men. 

As a romance ' John Splen- 
did ' is a distinct success. It is 
brilliantly written, and presents 
a picture of the Highlands of 
Scotland in the middle of the 
seventeenth century absolutely 
unique. All the characters 
are true to life and race, and 
two of them, John Splendid 
and Argyll, must take a very 
high place in literature. The 
book is full of episodes and ad- 
ventures, which are connected 
with each other by the presence 
in all of them of young Elrig- 
inore, who tells the story, and 
the interest never wanes through 
a single page. If there is a 
fault at all, it is that Elrig- 
more's love-affair leaves you 
cold, and Betty has so much 
spirit apparently that she makes 
even the author a little shy of 
her. It is impossible to resist 
the impression that Betty loved 
cvohii ; and although she de- 
nounced him in her heart for 
a deed that was not his, still 
her interest in the child of the 



dead girl seems to have had. 
some nameless motive not un- 
connected with John Splendid 
behind it. It is certain that 
John was of opinion that he 
could have won Betty had he 
tried; but he played the hero, 
and sacrificed himself for his 
friend. 

John Splendid is a really 
masterly creation. Before he 
made his bow to the world, if 
you had been asked to name 
the typical Highlander of fic- 
tion, you would hardly have 
gone to Scott to find him, be- 
cause Scott's Highlandmen are 
a trifle conventional, though he 
himself created the convention. 
The Dougal Cratur and the old 
Highland servant in the 'Leg- 
end' are very amusing, with 
their shes and shentlemens, 
which is still supposed in cer- 
tain quarters to be the way in 
which the English language is 
spoken in the Highlands. Scott 
created a Highlandman to suit 
his purpose whenever it was 
necessary ; and, like most of his 
creations, it was good. But it 
is recognised that Stevenson 
came nearer the truth in Alan 
Breck Stewart; and John 
Splendid is a more subtle 
psychological study than Alan 
Breck. This is undoubtedly 
high praise. For Alan is a 
favourite, and one of the hap- 
piest of Stevenson's creations. 
Comparisons are generally mis- 
leading and tend to misconcep- 
tions ; but here it is inevitable 
that the comparison should be 
made. The difference between 
the two men, however, is so 
marked that the comparison 
should only serve to throw both 
into greater relief. What they 



100 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction* 



[Jan. 



have in common are their High- 
land pride, their personal prow- 
ess, and something magnetic in 
their personality. 

But John Splendid is alto- 
gether a bigger man than Alan 
Breck. He has more brains and 
a broader character. In the 
Highlands caste is a very real 
thing ; and Alan would not have 
hesitated to let the Splendid 
take the lead. John Splendid 
is a gentleman with a weak- 
ness ; for a man of his tempera- 
ment he is wonderfully toler- 
ant ; his vices are of a gener- 
ous quality. He refrains from 
speaking the truth to his friends 
lest he should hurt them, not 
from any personal fear of the 
consequences. He has a mis- 
taken sense of courtesy, which 
even with the humblest leads 
him into the most awkward 
predicaments. The man is con- 
sistent with himself. His aim 
is to please, whenever he is not 
confronted with an enemy. He 
natters Argyll and speaks the 
sweet lie to him, for the same 
reason that he must needs 
tickle the ears of the blind 
widow of Glencoe. But he is 
no traducer. He will not 
praise a man to his face and 
say the bitter thing behind his 
back. Now, Alan Breck had 
the same desire to be admired 
by all and sundry ; but he had 
not the same tact. His con- 
ceit took offence so easily that 
he had generally to fall back 
on his praise of himself for 
adequate appreciation. John 
Splendid, again, has a much 
more severe ordeal to pass 
through than ever Alan had. 
In the person of the Rev. Mr 
Gordon, chaplain to the Mar- 



quis of Argyll, John Splendid, 
the trimmer, met the uncom- 
promising apostle of truth ; an^ 
Mr Gordon generally managed 
to make the truth as unpleasant 
as possible. The conflicts be- 
tween the two are excellent 
reading ; and on the whole 
John behaves very well, save 
on one occasion. The clergy- 
man at last succeeded in goad- 
ing him into an act unworthy 
of himself, whereby the godly 
Master Gordon came very near 
to suffocation. Thereafter John 
was at a sore disadvantage, 
and it was Mr Gordon who 
played the gentleman. It was 
a happy inspiration to confront 
those two men with each other : 
by no other test could the 
Splendid's moral weakness have 
been so effectually proved. The 
reader would have been taken 
in as easily as most of the 
people that John met ; but 
there was no deceiving Mr 
Gordon. It is not for nothing 
that Mr Gordon, unamiable 
though he be, is the one pei 
son in the book who commanc 
your entire respect. He 
narrow and bigoted ; and his 
highest conception of his dutj 
was the denunciation of 
without fear or favour. Yel 
he was sincere and honest anc 
of a most valiant heart. H 
was a great pity he could not 
have given his patron the M* 
quis of Argyll some of his coui 
age and honesty, instead ol 
those moral scourgings whic 
probably caused the squinl 
eyed chief of Diarmid mu< 
less searching of heart th 
he ever let his worthy cha] 
lain know. 

Mr Munro's portrait of 



1899." 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



101 



gyll is a fine bit of work. He 
presents him as a statesman who 
$iad the welfare of his country 
and his clan at heart ; a bookish 
man who, had it not been for an 
uncomfortable ambition, would 
have preferred the study to the 
Senate or the field ; and finally, 
as the disciple of Master Gordon 
could not fail to be, a sincerely 
religious man. At the same 
time, he is represented as am- 
bitious, crafty, selfish, flattered 
out of all true knowledge of 
himself, and probably a coward. 
On this last point Mr Munro is 
a trifle ambiguous. He seems 
to admit all that can be said in 
proof of Argyll's pusillanimity, 
and yet maintain that the man 
was not a coward but vacillating 
to a degree. You are confronted 
with his cowardice, and yet 
asked to believe that when put 
to the test Argyll was as bold 
of heart as any. The excuses 
which he himself gives for his 
flight from Inverlochy and In- 
verary are those of a man driven 
hard in self-defence, who would 
fain keep his self-esteem, and 
yet knows that he has lost the 
esteem of his fellows. He claims 
boldly enough that he is no pol- 
troon ; and would even have you 
believe that his irresolution in 
the face of danger is due to 
some dubiety as to whether he 
has really right on his side. 
Did the same Marquis know 
the same irresolution when he 
plotted in safety? In any 
case, Archibald Marquis of 
Argyll cuts but a sorry figure 
in Mr Munro' s pages. And 
r et you have a kindlier notion 
Argyll after reading 'John 



Splendid' than ever you had 
before. The man is revealed 
to you in his weakness, and 
an appeal with great skill is 
made direct to your pity. This 
is certainly true of the last 
scene in which Argyll figures. 
After the flight from Inver- 
lochy you are introduced to 
the unhappy man lying ill of 
a fever in his bed at Inverary, 
with the faithful Master Gor- 
don at his side, rubbing in the 
truth, you may be sure, where 
the skin was tenderest. Mr 
Munro in this scene and for 
vivid realisation it is a power- 
ful piece of writing lets the 
dignity of Argyll go by the 
board. You are confronted 
with a soul in agony, who in 
the very attitude he assumes 
would make himself ridicul- 
ous, were it not for his pain- 
ful earnestness. Mr Munro 
is quite conscious of this; for 
John Splendid afterwards re- 
marks that "the man was in 
his bed, and his position as he 
cocked up there on his knees 
was not the most dignified I 
have seen." With his dignity 
gone, his pride broken, his heart 
bitter to sickness with its own 
shame, Argyll disarms you of 
resentment, and you must be 
very hard of heart if you do not 
leave his bed-chamber with a 
more tender notion of the man. 
Of Montrose Mr Munro gives 
you only a glimpse, and that 
anything but flattering to the 
Great Marquis. And here this 
article would necessarily end, 
were it not that Mr MacLaren 
Cobban in 'The Angel of the 
Covenant ' 1 has essayed to do for 



1 The Angel of the Covenant. By J. MacLaren Cobban, Methuen, 



102 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



[Jan. 



Montrose what Mr Munro has 
achieved in the case of Argyll. 
Here, for the first time in fic- 
tion, have Montrose and Argyll 
been confronted with each other 
a big undertaking, but accom- 
plished with success. The story 
covers a period of twelve years, 
from 1629 to 1641, and con- 
sequently does not touch upon 
those events in the lives of 
Montrose and Argyll which 
have most largely contributed 
to render them famous in his- 
tory. The Covenant is the 
theme ; and to right and left 
of it stand these two, at first 
in apparent amity, which in 
due time gives place to un- 
concealed hatred. In order 
that the reader might clearly 
understand the true purport 
of the Covenant, that remark- 
able event in Scottish history, 
and the different attitudes 
adopted towards it by Mon- 
trose and Argyll, it was neces- 
sary that the condition of Scot- 
land at that period should be 
adequately set forth. It is the 
background of the romance, 
and the danger was that the 
author should give it undue 
prominence. Mr Cobban has 
steered clear of this pitfall, 
into which so many conscien- 
tious historical romancists have 
fallen to their own hurt. The 
story and the history are so 
interwoven that you are never 
impressed with the difference. 
Nor does the author take any 
violent liberties with history, in 
order that the gentle reader 
may not be unduly perturbed 
in spirit, as did Sir Walter, for 
example, when he made young 
Kilpont recover from the fatal 
blow dealt him by Allan M ' Aulay , 



in order that he might wed 
Annot Lyle. Into a firm and 
accurate framework of history^- 
Mr Cobban has worked his 
romance, and the result is an 
admirable picture of Scotland 
and her most famous sons dur- 
ing that seething period of 
discontent and bigotry which 
heralded the civil war. Mon- 
trose is the hero, in all the 
vigour of his splendid youth. 
You are introduced to him at 
the age of seventeen on his way 
to visit Jameson, the Scottish 
Vandyck, and have his portrait 
painted the portrait that shows 
even at that early age all the 
sweetness and strength that 
were as noticeable in the great 
Marquis of Montrose as in the 
boy James Grahame. 

The opening chapters of the 
tale introduce to each other, to 
their ultimate sorrow, Montrose 
and Alec Burnet, and Mistress 
Magdalen Keith afterwards 
the Angel of the Covenant, but 
then little more than a child. 
Maudlin is a frank, daring, 
beautiful child, worshipful of 
heroes, and even then uncon- 
sciously challenging them to 
love : she grows into a bril- 
liant, unhappy woman, whose 
heart must have broken but 
for her beauty and her pride. 
Montrose in these early scenes 
bears himself with all the dig- 
nity and affability which seemed 
to come naturally to one who, 
as a boy, believed himself born 
to do great deeds. But it is 
not until Argyll comes on the 
scene that he shows himself in 
his real strength. Ten years; 
older than Montrose, he is a much 
abler diplomatist than the young 
Earl, and in these first months 



1899. 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



103 



of their intimacy gives you al- 
most the impression of having 
$ie finer brain of the two. Argyll 
helps Montrose to know him- 
self, to realise himself and his 
own gifts of mind and body. 
No sooner is that accomplished 
than he takes the first place, 
and Argyll falls into the second. 
The greatness of his fate seems 
only to dawn upon Montrose 
when he is confronted with the 
man who, beginning as his rival, 
soon became his foe, and was in 
the end his murderer. There is 
humour in the scene in which 
Argyll first figures. His crafti- 
ness, no less than the power of 
the man, is admirably presented. 
He has the most perfect control 
of himself, and there is a patient 
watchfulness in his manner that 
holds your attention. Admirers 
of Argyle, and even those who 
insist that there are good 
qualities in all men, will not 
admit that Mr Cobban has done 
Gillespie Gruamach justice. Cer- 
tainly, if he had any kindly 
virtues in his disposition as to 
which there is undoubtedly some 
scepticism they are sternly re- 
pressed in Mr Cobban's por- 
trayal of him. And yet he is 
not described as altogether mean, 
cowardly, and treacherous. Un- 
til he discloses his settled enmity 
to Montrose, he is cheerful and 
even winning, a soother of 
strife. And although, of course, 
all this but serves to convince 
you of his guile, yet it wins 
your admiration. The contest 
between Montrose and Argyll, 
though not apparent at first, 
becomes gradually inevitable ; 
and when at last they face 
each other with nothing to veil 
the issue between them, the 



climax is reached and sustained. 
Although Argyll is foiled, he 
covers his retreat so skilfully as 
to shield Mr Cobban from the 
charge of injustice. There is 
only one scene where King 
Campbell completely gives him- 
self away, and then he is not 
confronted with Montrose, but 
with the Angel of the Cove- 
nant. This is where Argyll is 
caught in a trap, and is in im- 
minent danger of his life if he 
refuses to purchase it by sign- 
ing the release of Montrose from 
prison. The passionate anger 
of Maudlin at Argyll's taunt, 
the terror and rage of Argyll, 
the resentment of a quick wit 
in thrall to brute force, it is 
all very natural. But somehow 
it leaves a doubt in the mind" 
whether the constitutional tim- 
idity of Argyll would degener- 
ate into such abject terror at 
the touch of the cold muzzle of 
a pistol, which his quick brain 
might have told him would 
discharge no bullet at his 
head. 

Montrose triumphs over Ar- 
gyll by force of character, not 
by superior wit. It seems to 
have been Mr Cobban's inten- 
tion to vindicate his hero, not 
at the expense of any one else, 
but simply by the presentation 
of his transparent honesty and 
sweetness. As the story pro- 
gresses and the real issue opens 
out to him, Montrose takes on 
a sterner mood. You meet him 
as a boy ; you take leave of him a 
man fully equipped for the splen- 
did achievements which were to 
make his name illustrious. He 
is every inch a hero, without a 
shadow of abatement ; and they 
say that no man is altogether 



104 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



[Jan. 



so. The portrait is without 
doubt idealised; but you are 
convinced of its essential truth. 
The charm of his manner; his 
gaiety and wit ; the proud val- 
our of his heart, you are con- 
fronted with them. Thus the 
artist is justified, though the 
historian may be convicted of 
prejudice. Montrose's relations 
with Magdalen Keith is a deli- 
cate subject, and Mr Cobban 
has handled it with tact. This 
young creature, so beautiful, 
daring, and witty, loves Mon- 
trose with a passionate intensity 
that could have but one result 
unless you have implicit con- 
fidence in the honour of the 
hero. That of course you take 
for granted ; and so Maudlin, 
with her exquisite beauty and 
aching heart, becomes more and 
more tragic as the tale draws 
to an end. With nothing to 
aid her but the truth, the truth 
that would be shameful but for 
her great love and her pride in 
it, she defies the world and is 
victorious. But she passes be- 
fore you as one who is wounded 
to death, and yet will put a 
brave face on it, because it is 
better to be proud and brave 
than abject and tearful. The 
Lady Balgownie, her mother, is 
a stout - hearted, merry dame, 
with a good supply of whole- 
some Scots humour and a 
shrewd wit : the same type of 
woman as her daughter, but 
better balanced and with a 
larger share of common-sense. 
But the difference is sufficient 
to fit the one for comedy, the 
other for tragedy, in the play of 
life. 

It was surely a happy coin- 
cidence that 'John Splendid' 



and 'The Angel of the Coven- 
ant ' should have appeared i*\ 
the same year, the one witl:^ 
Argyll as the great historical 
figure, the other with Mon- 
trose. Sir Walter, with his 
large impartiality and supreme 
indifference, presents both men 
in a somewhat casual manner 
to his readers. His heart was 
with Dalgetty, and where his 
heart was, there his genius was 
sure to be brightest. But his 
swift sketches of Montrose and 
Argyll catch with unerring in- 
stinct those tricks of expres- 
sion and traits of character 
which have become traditional. 
What a source of tradition was 
this great magician ! We talk 
of the romance of Scottish his- 
tory as though it existed of 
itself, and was not the offspring 
of his genius, whose creative 
power, imaginative force, and 
buoyant humour cannot be 
equalled outside the works of 
Shakespeare. No one but Mr 
Crockett, we think, would dare 
to make a story of the Cov- 
enanters whom Claverhouse 
hunted about the hills. 'Old 
Mortality' commands a pass 
that none can force. But Scott 
left Montrose and Argyll to 
those who should come after 
him. Mr Cobban deals with an 
earlier period than that covered 
by 'A Legend of Montrose.' 
But Mr Monro, daring much, 
but with brilliant success, selects 
the same year and covers the 
same ground that beheld Dal- 
getty. He knows these West 
Highland hills and dales with 
a lover's intimacy. The Scot- 
tish Highlands and the men 
who live there have at last 
found their artist. 



1899." 



Montrose and Argyll in Fiction. 



105 



If Montrose receives but scant 
courtesy in the pages of ' John 
{Splendid,' you have the record 
of " The Miraculous Journey " 
for compensation. It is a happy 
phrase, "The Miraculous Jour- 
ney," and it will live with the 
chapter that describes it so long 
as men love to read of great 
deeds and heroic endurance. 
The cold and the darkness ; the 
hunger, the weariness, and the 
pain ; the impassable mountains 
to be overcome, the icy rivers to 
be forded with limbs that shrink 
from the ordeal, the whole 
journey passes before you, and 
grips you like a nightmare. 
And although young Elrigmore 
will have it that Alasdair Mac- 
Donald was the moving spirit 
of that triumphant progress, 
you have only to remember that 
Montrose was there, and where 
the king is, there can be no 
second. If Argyll has to bear 
the burden of a somewhat un- 
enviable reputation in history, 
in fiction he has attracted more 
notice than Montrose. Argyll 
has been presented with three 
full-length portraits of himself, 



while Montrose has only two. 
Which of the three Gillespie 
Gruamach would prefer is a deli- 
cate question to decide. Mr 
Munro describes him, as it were, 
in undress, and it is the most 
human portrait of Argyll that 
has yet been done. Mr Cobban 
presents him to you as the crafty 
politician ; and Sir Walter as 
the great noble. Mr Cobban 
dwells so insistently on his 
cowardice, that the tribute, 
handsome and unhesitating as 
it is, to Argyll's intellect would 
scarce conciliate him to the like- 
ness. You begin to think that 
perhaps Sir Walter's portrait 
would be the least unpleasant 
to the victim, until you remem- 
ber the terrible indignity put 
upon him by the redoubtable 
Dalgetty in the cell in Inver- 
ary Castle. After all, it is Mr 
Munro who has painted the 
portrait of Argyll which is fair- 
est to the man. As for Mon- 
trose, Mr Cobban's portrait of 
him is the beginning of that 
rehabilitation in fiction which 
has long since been finished in 
history. 



106 



The Carlists : 



[Jan. 



THE CARLISTS I THEIR CASE, THEIR CAUSE, 
THEIR CHIEFS. 



ABOUT the end of last year 
i.e., of 1897 the writer of these 
words asked a priest of the very 
clerical town of Vich, in the hill- 
country of Catalonia, whether a 
revival of the Carlist cause was 
not to be expected in the troubles 
of Spain. The answer was an 
emphatic and even derisive ne- 
gative. " Carlistas, Senor," 
said he; "no, indeed, all that 
is ancient history ha pasado d 
lahistoria we suffered too much 
from the last war, and will not 
go out again. We are too tired 
of everything." The priest may 
have said what he really thought, 
or may have exercised a strict 
economy of truth, holding it 
better only to say what was 
safe. Yet the truth of his an- 
swer was " probal to thinking," 
and his judgment was largely 
in harmony with that of men of 
very different types. Lawyers 
and men of business also re- 
fused to believe in a Carlist 
rising as an immediate serious 
danger. It was not that they 
thought the thing quite impos- 
sible, but only most improbable, 
unless a certain antecedent con- 
dition were first supplied. The 
reappearance of the Carlist 
bands, in their opinion, was a 
disaster which would follow 
others, but not come spontane- 
ously of itself. Still, to some 
minds, the supposition that the 
old cry of Dios, Patria, y Rey 
God, Country, and King might 
be heard once more, was serious. 
The question asked of the priest 
in Vich was put to the curator 



of the monastery of Poblet near 
Tarragona the old burial-place 
of the Kings of Aragon, a vast 
combination of religious house, 
palace, and fortress, which may 
well have given Philip II., who 
once visited it, the idea of the 
Escorial. He was an old man, 
whose memory went back to 
the thirties, when the abbot of 
Poblet was still a prince, and 
when 700 Cistercian monks, 
lay - brothers, foresters, hunts- 
men, and workmen lived within 
the walls. He had seen the 
country - people break in and 
burn the title-deeds, and could 
remember how a " Liberal " rab- 
ble from Tarragona followed 
soon after, tore the embalmed 
body of James the Conqueror 
from his tomb, and propped it 
up at the door with a musket 
in its arms. They played skittles 
in the cloister with the bones 
and skulls of the princes of the 
house of Aragon. This, and the 
vengeance for this, were vivid 
in the old man's mind, and he 
answered one's light inquiry 
whether the Carlists might not 
come again by drawing himself 
together, with a look of sus- 
picion and fear, and the words, 
"I hope not, Senor; I have 
seen them three times, and trust 
not to see them again in the days 
of my life." Yet even to him 
a recrudescence of the Carlist 
cause was a misfortune rather 
to be dreaded than expected. 

Catalonia was a great head- 
quarters of the party, and if it 
does not move, little can be 



1899: 



Their Case, their Cause, their Chiefs. 



107 



done for Don Carlos. Never- 
theless, we have heard a great 
(ieal of late of agitations, of 
significant movements on the 
part of the Pretender, of com- 
mittees at work in the towns 
to collect recruits, and of what, 
if true, is serious namely, of 
attempts, more or less success- 
ful, to debauch the troops. At 
the lowest there is something 
in all this, even if it be only 
a Stock Exchange manoeuvre 
meant to frighten the public 
and affect the market. People 
would not be frightened by 
what they know to be a mere 
scarecrow of rags and patches. 
Therefore it is not superfluous 
to take a look once more at the 
Carlists, their chiefs, their real 
cause, and their technical case. 
A few words very few 
will suffice may be given to 
the last - named. The Carlist 
case is not what it professes 
to be, and what the rather 
comic poseurs of the White 
Rose League, who perform 
private theatricals in the streets 
round the statues of Charles I. 
and James II., emphatically tell 
us that it is namely, a legiti- 
mist case. Even comparatively 
sober people talk about " the 
undoubted right of Don Carlos." 
There is no such thing. The 
theorists of the party maintain, 
since there is rooted desire in 
human nature for a legal excuse 
of some kind, that the descent 
of the crown in Spain was to 
heirs-male only, and that Ferdi- 
nand VII. had no authority to 
set aside his brother, the first 
iDon Carlos, in favour of his 
daughter, Isabel II., grand- 
mother of the present sovereign, 
who in her early years was 



pathetically called La Inocente 
the Innocent. But their con- 
tention is in direct contradiction 
both to the written law and the 
uniform practice of all the states 
of the Peninsula. We will not 
oppress our readers with a dis- 
play of what is, after all, suffi- 
ciently easy learning. It is 
enough to say that two things 
are certain in Spanish history. 
One is, that the right of the 
king's daughter to succeed when 
he left no son was beyond dis- 
pute. It is affirmed in the 
code of laws called the Siete 
Partidas. It was acted on when 
Urraca succeeded her father 
Alfonso VI. in Castile, and 
Petronilla succeeded her father 
Ramiro, the ex-claustratedmonk, 
in Aragon. Isabel la Catolica 
succeeded her brother Henry in 
Castile. Her right was only 
contested by Henry's putative 
daughter, Juana la Belibaneja, 
who was set aside by the 
Cortes because it was not 
humanly possible to believe her 
legitimate. Observe the contest 
here was between two ladies, 
and the right of La Belibaneja 
(in which name there is con- 
cealed an old scandal) was clear, 
if certain notorious transactions, 
ignominious to human nature, 
had allowed the Prelates, Ricos- 
hombres i.e., the barons and 
good towns of Castile to accept 
her as the daughter of King 
Henry. The Catholic sovereigns 
were succeeded by their daughter, 
Juana la Loca the Mad. Dur- 
ing all the poor lady's long life 
of melancholy insanity her name 
appeared in public Acts as 
Queen of Castile. The second 
point is, that in disputed cases 
the Cortes decided. There is 



108 



The Carlists : 



[Jan. 



a famous example in the choice 
of Ferdinand, surnamed of 
Antequera, of the House of 
Castile, to succeed to the crown 
of Aragon on the death of 
Martin the Humane. He was 
preferred for his known wisdom 
and sufficiency ; but he claimed 
through his mother, a princess 
of Aragon. The Hapsburgs did 
indeed make a family compact 
by which the Spanish and Aus- 
trian branches were to be heirs 
of one another, on the failure of 
heirs-male in either. This family 
compact was never law, and 
was disregarded by Carlos II., 
the Bewitched, who made his 
will in favour of his sister, the 
wife of Lewis XIV., and her 
heirs. Philip V., the first of 
the Bourbon kings, did indeed 
establish the Salic line in 
Spain, for reasons of his own, 
by " pragmatic sanction," and 
against the will of his Spanish 
subjects. This pragmatic sanc- 
tion was revoked by his grand- 
son, Charles IV., in a Cortes 
assembled for the purpose. The 
revocation was not promulgated 
till his son, Ferdinand VII. , found 
himself dying with no male 
heir. Ferdinand was a miserable 
creature, mean and cunning, 
cowardly and cruel. He be- 
haved wretchedly deciding 
and revoking his decisions to 
the last moment. Yet his final 
word was for his daughter ; and if 
he had never spoken, the Cortes 
would have been entitled to 
disregard the " pragmatic sanc- 
tion " of Philip V. as a mere 
arbitrary and temporary inter- 
ference with the old-established 
law of succession. When the 
heralds stood in front of the 
great white Palace at Madrid 



and cried, " Oye, Castilla, por la 
reina Isabel " Hear, Castile, for 
Queen Isabel they were pro^> 
claiming the "legitimate sover- 
eign of Spain." And so much 
for the pedantry of the story. 

If, then, the Carlists do not 
stand on a clear legal right, 
as the French Legitimists can, 
on what do they stand? On 
the ambitions of the male line 
of the Spanish Bourbons, to 
which the passions, the fears, 
the faults, the virtues, the local 
patriotisms, and the fanaticisms 
of certain portions of the Span- 
ish peoples have given validity. 
As these qualities have really 
made the Carlist cause, which 
owes little indeed to its princes, 
let us look at them first. 

The whole Iliad in a nutshell 
of modern Spanish history is 
the reaction of the old bottles 
against the invasion of the new 
wine. It is the Carlists who 
have conducted the fight on the 
side of the resistance, and what 
they opposed was everything in 
politics, religion, or irreligion, 
which first produced the French 
Kevolution, and then by means 
of it recast all Europe. They 
may be said to have begun be- 
fore the armies of Napoleon had 
been driven out of the country. 
There were already men who 
said that the expulsion of the 
French was not enough. It 
was also necessary to expel the 
Afrancesados, the Frenchified 
Spaniards, by which name was 
meant all who were known, or 
even suspected, to be touched 
by "Liberalism." The conflict 
fills the whole reign of Ferdin- jji 
and, and it is this clash of prin- 
ciples which alone gives some 
measure of interest and in- 



1899.] 



Their Case, their Cause, their Chiefs. 



109 



telligibility to a long, most 
brainless, and always sanguin- 
,ny welter. The immediate an- 
cestors of the Carlists were the 
organisers of the so-called war 
of the " Agraviados," which 
blazed up among the mountains 
of Catalonia in 1827. The 
Agraviados, or aggrieved per- 
sons, were in fact the extreme 
churchmen and their lay sup- 
porters, who thought the king 
too lenient to "Freemasons" 
and suchlike. They had for 
motto "Religion, King, and In- 
quisition," and for chief The 
Trappist, who again had for his 
Egeria a lady of mixed Spanish 
and Irish blood, by name Jose- 
fina Comerford of whom one 
would like to know more. The 
Agraviados were partly sup- 
pressed, partly soothed down, 
but from them came the Car- 
lists. It is necessary to com- 
press, but the reader will under- 
stand that there was an ex- 
treme bigot party, for which the 
despotism of Ferdinand VII. 
was not despotic enough. It 
looked to Don Carlos, the king's 
next brother, as chief, and would 
probably have risen before Fer- 
dinand's death if its princely 
figurehead (for he was really 
little more) had not shown an 
invincible reluctance to take 
arms against his lord and 
sovereign. This being the 
situation, we can easily under- 
stand how it came to pass that 
men who professed above all 
things to be resolute in stand- 
ing on the old ways were found 
to declare that the pragmatic 
sanction of Philip V. was too 
sacred to be revoked. " Alia van 
leyes do quieren Reyes," says the 
Spanish proverb Laws go as 



kings please and the saying 
is no less true of parties. The 
Carlists adhered to the innova- 
tion of the first Bourbon king, 
though it had been formally re- 
voked, because they thought it 
would enable them to resist 
other innovations which they 
regarded with active hate. 

The Carlists militant and the 
Carlists in sympathy were cer- 
tainly the majority of the pop- 
ulation of Spain in 1833, when 
Ferdinand died. Why, then, 
did they not win? Firstly, 
because the king had been 
forced in his later years to 
propitiate the Liberals in order 
that they might support his 
daughter. The Liberals were 
strong in the towns, and num- 
erous among the army officers. 
Secondly, because Ferdinand 
put the whole machinery of 
Government into the hands of 
his wife Cristina before he died, 
and the Carlists had to fight 
whatever organised force there 
was in the country. Thirdly, 
because their princely chiefs 
were but Spanish Bourbons, 
which means persons of very 
little courage and conduct. 
Fourthly, and mainly, because 
of the essentially anarchical 
character of the Spaniard. 
This it was which, in the long- 
run, and though it has helped 
them to many successes, has 
proved their ruin. The same 
thing was working on the other 
side ; but there, at any rate, it 
was found in combination with 
some machinery of Government. 

It is very necessary to dis- 
tinguish between what may be 
called the sentimental and the 
effective Carlists. Under the 
first were and are to be put 



110 



The Carlists : 



[Jan. 



many of the clergy, and knots 
of clerically minded persons 
found in most Spanish towns, 
together with many of the 
peasantry. You will be told, 
and with truth, that Toledo 
for instance is a nest of Car- 
lists. So it may be, and so 
there were nests of Jacobites 
in England who drank the 
health of the king over the 
water, and would even now and 
then send him a little money, 
but who stayed at home in the 
'45. Such supporters are a 
broken reed, and of themselves 
can do no more against the 
Government at Madrid than 
the French Legitimists can do 
against the Third Republic. 
As for the peasantry, they are 
too docile, too unorganised, too 
much under the hand of the 
tax-collector and the civil gov- 
ernor, to be dangerous. If Don 
Carlos can win by other means, 
they will be his loyal subjects ; 
but he will never win by their 
help. Moreover, it must be 
remembered that they are less 
numerous than they were. The 
effective Carlists must be looked 
for where the fighting Jacobites 
were to be found during the '45 
in the hills of the north and 
east. 

Let the reader take his map 
of Spain, and put his finger 
on the province of Santander, 
which lies in the middle of the 
northern coast facing the Bay 
of Biscay. Then let him draw 
his finger eastward across the 
Basque Provinces, Navarre, the 
hill-country of Upper Aragon 
to the mountains of Catalonia, 
which look down on the Medi- 
terranean. Having now reached 
the sea, he must turn south, and 



follow the spurs of the Pyrenees, 
which stretch to the valley of 
the Ebro. Beyond the riveir 
is another block of rocky 
country the mountain region 
of Valencia. This also he must 
include, and he will now have 
run over all that part of Spain 
which is Carlist in the serious 
sense of the word. Gentle- 
men of blue blood, more or 
less authentic, who meet in 
the Circulo Tradicionalista at 
Madrid (of which a word here- 
after), canons of Toledo, and 
pious ladies ready with their 
prayers, and a modicum of 
money, ready also to intrigue 
and use influence with official 
persons, peasants of central and 
southern Spain, who listen de- 
voutly to the parish priest, are 
good. But the pith and sub- 
stance of the Carlist cause has 
been, and is, in the "clans" of 
the great angle of hills which 
holds the north and east of 
Spain. When they move, and 
have attained some success, 
bands may appear anywhere. 
Till they have acted nothing 
can be done. 

We hasten to add that the 
word clan is used wholly and 
solely for purposes of illustra- 
tion, and as giving some sort 
of approximate idea of what 
it is that supplies the fighting 
rank and file of a Carlist army. 
There are no clans proper in 
Spain only peasant proprie- 
tors tilling their own land, 
small landowners with their 
metayer tenants, great estates, 
which the landlord may never 
visit in all his life, and where ( 
he is represented by his inten- 
dent, labourers, and shepherds. 
It follows that there are no 



.1899.] 



Their Case, their Caiise, their Chiefs. 



Ill 



chiefs no Cameron of Lochiel, 
no Cluny. Indeed the aristoc- 
acy may be left out of the 
account in Spanish politics, 
whether peaceful or pugnaci- 
ous. "We grandees of Spain," 
said the Duke of Wellington, 
"are very well-bred, agreeable 
people, but also very childish, 
fit only to hold offices about 
the Court." None of the not- 
able Carlist leaders of the first 
war neither Tomas Zumala- 
carregui, the most considerable 
man of action Spain has pro- 
duced since her great days, nor 
Ramon Cabrera, nor any other 

came of aristocratic houses. 
Army officers of clerical opin- 
ions, or merely of adventurous 
ambition, priests, and "cabe- 
cillas," have been the real 
chiefs of the cause of "God, 
King, and Country." 

The first need not detain us, 
being very intelligible. They 
were more conspicuous in the 
first war than they have been 
since, for obvious reasons. The 
priest again explains himself. 
Nothing is more easy to under- 
stand than that he should have 
been to the front in a cause 
which was first and foremost 
clerical, and which supported 
the claim of one branch of the 
royal family because it could be 
trusted to repay the Church by 
absolute obedience. But the 
Cabecilla is very much a cosa 
de Espana. The word is a 
linutive of cabo, a chief ; but 
it is no explanation. As for 

rhat constitutes any given man 
a "cabecilla," it is difficult to 
say. He is the fighting equiva- 
lent of the "cacique," the local 
bigwig, jobber, and wire-puller 
of Spanish parliamentary poli- 



tics ; and he is, by the way, 
often called a "caudillo." We 
must be content to know that 
throughout the Carlist country, 
and on the outskirts of it, 
there are men, often the sons 
of leaders in the first war, the 
grandsons of guerrilleros of 
the Napoleonic days, who are 
marked out as leaders. The 
continued existence of these 
stocks of potential insurrection- 
ary chiefs may be accounted 
for by the fact that none of the 
Carlist wars has ended in clear 
victory for the Government. 
They have been closed by com- 
promises in which the carac- 
terizados, the marked men, have 
been bought off, and bribed to 
keep quiet, by pensions, half 
pays, and small places. These 
sources of income, together with 
the help afforded by the senti- 
mental Carlists, and the patron- 
age of the clergy, have kept 
them alive. There are differ- 
ences among them. Some have 
always been the handy men of 
the dethroned Bourbons every- 
where. Others have served the 
established Government, with a 
mental reservation of their right 
to take to the hills for Don 
Carlos as occasion offered. 

One specimen of each kind 
may be quoted by way of ex- 
ample. Tristany (a name which 
no Englishman can pronounce 
till a Catalan teaches him, and 
often not even then, so hard is 
it to master the peculiar liquid 
"ny") is a type of the handy 
man. To be quite candid, the 
difference between him and a 
bravo, or brigand, was not 
great. Tristany having, we 
believe, served under Ramon 
Cabrera between 1833 and 1840, 



112 



The Carlists : 



[Jan, 



continued afterwards to be at 
the service of the exiled pre- 
tender. Whenever a coup de 
main was required, there was 
he, and he served the House 
elsewhere than in Spain. He 
was one of the brigands (for 
that is the proper name) who 
were let loose in Naples after 
1860. As he was not caught 
and shot by the Bersaglieri, he 
escaped to do a great deal of 
the same kind of work in the 
hills of Catalonia between 1872 
and 1876. The man was only 
a guerrillero, and his chief 
merit is fairly enough shown 
by his favourite boast. He 
was wont to say that if Cata- 
lonia were occupied by sixty 
thousand soldiers, he would un- 
dertake to carry two thousand 
men from one end of the Prin- 
cipality to the other without 
allowing the regulars a chance 
of stopping him. In other 
words, he knew every inch of 
the hiUs, every hiding-place, 
every mountain path, and every 
spring. With that knowledge 
he could wear the troops down 
and keep up a partisan war 
till the exhaustion of his party 
compelled peace. Then he 
could save himself by some 
goat's path across the Pyrenees. 
The most effectual answer to 
Tristany was the formation 
of contra - guerillas, irregular 
corps such as we have used 
in India. One body of that 
kind was formed during the 
last war, under the command 
of an officer named Camprodon, 
who picked likely men out of 
the regular army, and with 
them made a band which beat 
the Carlists at their own game. 
Another and more honourable 



type of chief was the Dorre- 
garay, who commanded for Don 
Carlos in Biscay after 187$ 
He had fought as a lad in the 
first war, and was included 
in the convention of Vergara, 
which gave him a right to a 
small pension. Dorregaray re- 
tired to his native village in 
Navarre. But a life of idleness 
was not to his taste, and he soon 
found an opportunity for activ- 
ity. The war had left behind it 
a class of broken men who took 
to living by brigandage. Now 
Spaniards of the north and the 
centre have never been toler- 
ant of the brigand from the 
moment he extends his opera- 
tions beyond Government couri- 
ers and the tax collector. When, 
then, a band of this kind began 
to infest Dorregaray's country, 
he made an offer to the Govern- 
ment to destroy it, provided a 
sum of money were given him 
and he was put on the active 
list of the army as officer. The 
Civil Guard not having been 
organised as yet, the authorities 
were glad to make the bargain. 
Dorregaray raised a small 
corps of men like-minded with 
himself, and mostly old soldiers 
of Don Carlos. As they knew 
the country just as well as the 
brigands, were hardy fellows, 
and good shots, it was not long 
before the last of the bandoleros 
had his deserts. Then Dorre- 
garay passed into the army, and 
was a colonel when the Republic 
was proclaimed. Being a strong 
Monarchist, he thereupon went 
back to his old master. His 
fellow - general, Lizarraga, wa^ 
much of the same stamp. 

These, it will be seen, were 
more serious persons than Tris- 



1899.] 



Their Case, their Cause, their Chiefs. 



113 



tany ; and it was natural that 
they should, since the three 
Basque provinces of Viscaya 
(pronounced Biscaya, with a 
slight v sound in the 6), Gui- 
puzcoa, and Alava, together 
with the kindred country of 
Navarre, form the main strength 
of the Carlist cause. So long 
as they do not move, the Alta 
Aragon, the Catalonian, and 
Valencian hills will hardly do 
more than contribute "quad- 
rillas," wandering gangs of par- 
tisans. It is when Biscay is up 
in arms, and troops have to be 
concentrated to subdue it, that 
a Carlist rising becomes danger- 
ous elsewhere. For this there 
are two reasons. The first is, 
that the Basques and Navarrese 
are, take them for all in all, the 
best fighting men in Spain by 
land or sea. The second is, 
that under their ancient fueros 
the Basque provinces enjoyed 
almost absolute self - govern- 
ment. They formed rather a 
protected state than a province. 
Therefore when they rose they 
could form a government able 
to levy taxes and organise a 
regular commissariat. Speak- 
ing generally, it may be said 
that the Carlist cause has been 
supported in the north by an 
army, and elsewhere only by 
more or less numerous and well- 
led guerrillero bands. The privi- 
leges of the Basques have been 
lost, till they retain much of 
the machinery of local govern- 
ment, and all the spirit. One 
example will show how this 
works. Before the last war 
Hhe Provincias Yascongadas 
were exempt from the conscrip- 
tion, and were only bound to 
supply the king with a corps, 
VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



which they raised themselves, 
in time of war. Now they are 
supposed to pay the " blood- 
tax " like others. As a matter 
of fact, what happens is that 
the " depucationes," or local 
councils, pay the exemption for 
all who are drawn, and the pro- 
vinces therefore escape military 
service. It is necessary to note, 
by the way, that the Basque 
country contains one enclave of 
strong "liberalism," and that is 
the town of Bilbao, which has 
twice stood a long siege by the 
Carlists with success. 

Things move even in Spain, 
and neither the Carlist resour- 
ces nor the Carlist cause are 
what they were in 1833-1840. 
Then the Serviles, Apost61icos, 
Agraviados of Ferdinand's reign 
were relatively more numerous, 
and were unbroken. Therefore 
they were able to make head 
against a Government which 
had no other enemy, and could 
use the services of some eighty 
or ninety thousand well-ap- 
pointed troops. The second 
Carlist rising, in the middle of 
Queen Isabel's reign, was a 
much smaller business, and end- 
ed in complete surrender. It is 
chiefly worth noting because 
the uncle of the present Don 
Carlos, \vho was taken prisoner, 
saved himself from the fate of 
his generals, who were shot, by 
renouncing his rights. Once 
safe on the other side of the 
frontier, he renounced his re- 
nunciation, on the ground that 
it had been extorted from him 
by fear which was true, but 
ignominious. The most notable 
fact about the third war was 
that it did not become formid- 
able till the Government had 
H 



114 



The Carlists: 



[Jan. 



been utterly disorganised by 
the resignation of Don Amadeo 
in 1873, and the establishment 
of the anarchical Republic. 

It is well to keep this truth 
in mind when we hear that the 
Don Carlos of to-day is issuing 
manifestoes, and that prepara- 
tions for a rising are being 
made. Talk to this effect is 
exceedingly easy ; but what 
prospect is there of another 
civil war on a serious scale, 
after twenty years of peace, if 
the last failed ? The history of 
that venture of itself is suffi- 
cient answer. Queen Isabel 
was driven out by a military 
revolt in September 1868, and 
the Carlist did not move. 
While Prim lived they were 
hardly ever heard of. A few 
sporadic outbreaks took place 
in Catalonia, and were instant- 
ly suppressed. After his mur- 
der, and during the brief so- 
called reign of Amadeo of Sa- 
voy, there was a movement in 
Biscay, and therefore in other 
regions. The intrusive king be- 
longed to a family odious to 
the Papacy and to the Church ; 
so clerical influence was on the 
Carlist side, or was, at any rate, 
nowhere vigorously used against 
it. Yet it was not till King 
Amadeo resigned, and the Re- 
public was proclaimed, that the 
Carlists became really danger- 
ous. Then the way was cleared 
for them by the utter collapse of 
Government. The Republicans 
had promised to abolish the 
conscription, and one of the 
first results of their insane en- 
gagement was to cause the 
mutiny and dissolution of the 
army of Catalonia. The sol- 
diers took the politicians at 



their word, disbanded, and went 
home. Then came the " canton- 
alist " outbreak which was a* 
mere explosion of anarchy by 
agitators who took the com- 
munards of Paris for their 
model. During this interval of 
confusion, and of the paralysis 
of Government, the Carlist 
army in Biscay was regularly 
organised by Dorregaray and 
Lizarraga ; while the guerril- 
lero bands of the Alta Aragon, 
Catalonia, and Valencia gained 
in numbers and solidity. They 
were in their height during the 
protectorate of Serrano, which 
lasted from the suppression of 
the Republic by Pa via in the 
beginning of 1874 to the resto- 
ration of Don Alfonso XII. by 
the pronunciamiento of Murvi- 
edro in December. Yet even 
during this period they never 
succeeded in occupying any con- 
siderable town, and were forced 
to raise the siege of Bilbao. 
From the day of the restora- 
tion of Dona Isabel's son their 
jause steadily declined. They 
were first swept out of Valencia 
and Catalonia, and then broken 
up in Biscay. Disgusted as the 
vast majority of Spaniards were 
with the follies of the Republic 
and the incompetence of Fer- 
rano, it was never to the Car- 
lists that they looked for a 
remedy, but to the restora- 
tion of the family of Dona 
Isabel. 

The explanation of the Car- 
list failure to profit by the 
apparently magnificent oppor- 
tunity offered them is not very 
far to seek. They were strong I 
enough to take advantage of 
the collapse of Government, and 
were strong for defence. They 



1899.] 



Their Case, their Cause, their Chiefs. 



115 



could worry regular troops 
when invaded in their hills, or 

Jeven fight respectable pitched 
battles in Biscay, but they were 
not strong enough to overrun 
the rest of Spain. They were 
affected, too, by various causes 
of weakness. One of these lay 
in the change which had come 
over the spirit of the Church. 
Queen Isabel, whatever her 
other faults may have been, 
was in a way pious, and had 
done much to propitiate the 
clergy. Therefore they were 
bound to her son, 'who was also, 
by the way, godson of Pio 
Nono. With his restoration, 
the chief reason they had for 
favouring the Carlist cause dis- 
appeared. Another reason was 
that, after all, the Spain of 
1873 was not the Spain of 
1833. It was far more popu- 
lous, and better supplied with 
means of communication, which 
brought with them internal 
trade. It was no longer pos- 
sible for Spaniards to live in 
the old barbarous isolation. 
Both these influences, the cleri- 
cal and the commercial, tell 
more strongly against the Car- 
lists to-day than they did 
twenty -four years ago. The 
upper clergy are nominated by 
the Government, and therefore 
cannot well be hostile to it. The 
Pope is known not to be favour- 
able to the Carlist s. Even 
among the lower clergy the 
feeling is not what it was. The 
Queen Regent is a good church- 
woman, though nowise clerical 
in the bad political sense of 

\ the word ; and it is tolerably 
certain that the priests will not 
act against her. Besides, they 
have done very well for the last 



twenty years, and are, partly 
on their own account, partly 
on behalf of parishioners, large 
holders of Government stock. 
The commercial influence against 
Carlists is even more formidable 
than the clerical. The Spain of 
1833-1840 was a country of pro- 
vinces living apart from one 
another on their own resources, 
with a total population of some 
twelve millions. This state of 
things was modified largely by 
1873. "Within the last twenty- 
four years it has changed al- 
together. The population of 
Spain cannot now be much, if 
at all, under twenty millions. 
Hundreds of miles of railway 
have been made, and not less 
than thousands of highroad. 
There goes on an intercourse 
between the provinces which 
was impossible in former times. 
To take a single example, a 
gardener of Barcelona can now 
drive a flourishing trade by 
sending cut flowers to Madrid 
by the night-mail. The market 
of the capital and the other 
considerable towns is now valu- 
able to the fishermen of the 
Basque coast and the Mediter- 
ranean, to the market-gardener 
of Valencia, to the corn-grower 
of the Tierra de Campos in 
Leon, to the wine-grower of the 
Bioja and La Mancha. In 
Biscay itself the immense de- 
velopment of the mining in- 
dustry, and the establishment 
of iron foundries, has wrought 
a great change. The country 
can no longer afford to give 
itself to civil war as it once 
could. What was possible when 
Spain still deserved Adam 
Smith's description of the most 
beggarly country in Europe is 



116 



The Carlists : 



[Jan. 



not possible to comparative pros- 
perity. 

Yet a revival of the Carlists 
has been allowed to be pos- 
sible in certain contingencies. 
They may again come to the 
front if the way is prepared 
for them, as it was between 
1868 and 1872, by military re- 
bellions, pronunciamientos, and 
the collapse of Government. 
Whether these old evils will 
revive is beside the present 
question. What concerns us is 
the fact that the present Don 
Carlos no longer appeals for 
support on the same grounds 
as his grandfather. He no 
longer defies the army, and 
relies on his faithful and religi- 
ous Basques, Aragonese, and 
Catalans. They get compliments 
from time to time ; but he 
directs himself to the mass of 
Spaniards, and, above all, to 
the army, and that with pleas 
which amount to a surrender of 
all the principles of his family. 
When the first Don Carlos stood 
forth to vindicate his right to 
the crown, he also declared that 
he fought for la monarquia 
pur a for pure monarchy. A 
despotic king united to an in- 
tolerant Church were the ad- 
vantages he offered his country, 
and it was because he did that 
he had the support of the 
Spaniards who valued these 
things. The Don Carlos of to- 
day talks in a very different 
tone. His representatives in 
Spain, who meet at the Circulo 
Tradicionalista, and whose chief 
is the Marquis of Zerralbo, are 
authorised to declare that his 
Majesty is no enemy to repre- 
sentative institutions. Far from 
it. He is much in favour of the 



" traditional liberties " of Spain, 
hence the name of the club. 
What this means is that he will 
consent to restore the Cortes of 
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valen- 
cia as they were before his 
ancestor, Philip V., put them 
down with the strong hand, 
because those parts of Spain 
fought for the Hapsburg line. 
It may be said, by the way, 
that the rest of the country was 
represented taliter qualiter by 
the nobles, and the sixteen good 
towns which formed the Corfces 
of Castile. This traditionalism, 
in fact, shows its fidelity to 
principles by throwing over the 
whole tradition of the Bourbon 
dynasty more completely than 
the female line now on the 
throne. Such is the political 
consistency of the flor y nata 
the flower and cream of the 
sentimental Carlism of Spain, 
which meets in the Circulo Tra- 
dicionalista, and talks politics 
of this force in the intervals of 
looking out of window at the 
Calle de Alcala, and playing 
tresillo. The cause of the mon- 
arquia pura has been wondrous- 
ly translated, if they are to be 
trusted. 

No doubt there is more in 
the manifestoes of Don Carlos 
and the speeches of his repre- 
sentatives. There are promises 
that the rightful king will give 
Spain a far better Government 
than it has had before, and will 
do great things for its interest 
and its honour. Poor Spain 
might do worse than take him 
at his word, if there were the 
slightest chance it would 
kept. But is there ? all depends 
on the personal qualities of the 
Pretender. We have left the 



1899.] 



Their Cose, their Cause, their Chiefs. 



117 



Carlist princes to the end, be- 
cause they are the least part of 
I their own cause. Of the gentle- 
man who renounced his cause 
to save his life, who brought 
his vassals to die on the field, 
and was not man enough to die 
with them, nothing need be 
said. The first Don Carlos may 
have been what Ford calls him 
an honest man. He was also 
what Ford has elsewhere to 
acknowledge that he was a 
narrow-minded bigot. He was 
a mere puppet in the hands of 
his domestic priests, till he be- 
came a prisoner to his own 
general Maroto, who, after pre- 
paring the way by shooting his 
Majesty's confidential advisers, 
betrayed the cause at Yergara. 
As regards the present Don 
Carlos, what is certain is that 
scandal has been very busy 
with his name. It asserts, for 
instance, that he helped to 
supply Daudet with material 
for 'Les Rois en Exil.' It says 
also that when he was in Spain 
during the last war, his atten- 
tion was chiefly devoted to the 
cider of the Basque country, 
and to a certain lady abbess. 
Not dissimilar tales were told 
of his brother, Don Alfonso, 
who appeared (one cannot say 
who commanded) in Catalonia. 
This gentleman was accom- 
panied by his wife a lady of 
the exiled Portuguese house of 
Braganza, with whom scandal 
was also busy. The best it had 
to say of her was that she 
caused a woman who had used 
disrespectful language concern- 
ing herself to be whipped in her 
chemise all round one of the 
Catalan towns. We hope the 
story is not true. That sort of 



thing was done on both sides 
by the Carlists often, by troops 
now and then, by the Republi- 
can volunteers continually. 

Scandal is not to be trusted ; 
but it is a fact that in regard 
to these two gentlemen there is 
no evidence on the other side. 
There is a good deal of declam- 
ation about his Majesty's rights 
and the fine things he will do, 
but nobody ever hears of any- 
thing he has done. Yet in the 
last hour he came to Biscay as 
soon as an army was organised, 
and remained there till further 
stay became manifestly danger- 
ous. During this period he 
was, for all that appeared to 
the contrary, with the army as 
a baggage-waggon might have 
been to use M'Clellan's ex- 
cessive jibe at Grant. As 
much may be said about his 
brother, Don Alfonso, who was 
never taken seriously by any- 
body. That this was not mere 
prejudice may be concluded 
from the fact that a very 
different tone was taken in 
speaking of his wife, Dona 
Blanca. Even those who spoke 
most evil of her never denied 
her spirit. 

Now, it will hardly be dis- 
puted that this absence of any 
evidence to the possession of 
positive merit is very ominous 
for a prince who has to fight 
his way to the throne against 
all the difficulties indicated 
above. Indeed, we understate 
the case. It is not one throne 
Don -Carlos claims but two. 
As he asserts his right to be 
King of Spain by virtue of the 
" pragmatic sanction " of Philip 
Y., so he claims to be King of 
France and Navarre, as the 



118 



The Carlists. 



[Jan. 



representative of the elder line 
of the house of Bourbon. On 
this ground, at least, he occupies 
an impregnable position. Since 
the death of the Comte de 
Chambord he is the head of the 
house by descent, for he comes 
direct from Lewis XIV., whereas 
the Duke of Orleans only comes 
from the Grand Monarch's 
brother. It is true that Philip 
V. of Spain solemnly renounced 
all claim to succeed to the 
French throne for himself and 
for his descendants ; but he 
never meant to keep his word, 
and his promise was not worth 
the paper it was written on. 
Nothing is more certain in 
Legitimist law than that no 
personal renunciation can de- 
prive the descendants of any 
prince of their divine right. 
He may abdicate for himself, 
but not for others. So, the 
word of honour of Philip V. 
and the Treaty of Utrecht to 
the contrary notwithstanding, 
Don Carlos is King of France 
if everybody had his rights, and 
is so considered by those stern 
and unbending Legitimists who 

fo by the name of the Blancs 
'Espagne. If any one does 
not at once understand the in- 
solence, possible only in a time 
debauched by the vilest revolu- 
tionary poison, which is implied 
in this name, let him ask any 
lady of his acquaintance whom 
he does not suspect of improv- 
ing her face by the help of art. 
So, in spite of delusive appear- 
ances to the contrary, Don Car- 
los has abolished the Pyrenees. 
He has united the crowns of 
France, Navarre, and Spain, 
and he was perfectly right when 
he forbade the Duke of Orleans 



to use the arms of France with- 
out the " brisure " or difference 
of the younger line. His High-^ 
ness of Orleans has paid no 
attention to the injunction, and, 
as the jeunesse Royaliste sup- 
ports him, it is to be feared that 
the true Legitimists are now but 
a scattered remnant. 

His inheritance of the crown 
of France has also added some- 
thing to the difficulties which 
beset Don Carlos. During the 
last war, -when the septennate 
of Marshal MacMahon was still 
running its course in France, 
the Carlists were treated with 
extreme tenderness all along 
the frontier. They were al- 
lowed to use French territory 
as a basis of operations, and 
their uniform was commonly 
seen at Biarritz. In no case 
could he rely on the same tol- 
eration and assistance again ; 
but since he has become pre- 
tender to France as well as to 
Spain, his case is even worse. 

On the whole, one is strongly 
tempted to advise Don Carlos, 
since he has inherited the rights 
of Henri V., to take also the 
pathetically dignified attitude 
which that very real gentle- 
man maintained to the end. 
It is not only the most becom- 
ing but the most practical 
course to follow. The genuine 
Carlists are not those Spaniards 
who feel disposed to seek a 
remedy for the ills of their 
country in "Home Rule all 
round." They are the believ- 
ers in " the pure monarchy " 
and the extreme Churchmen. 
It is not by concessions to I) 
Liberalism and to religious tol- 
eration that they will ever be 
brought into the field. If they 



1899.] 



Their Case, their Cause, their Chiefs. 



119 



are not strong enough to vin- 
dicate his right, his cause is 
#zopeless. Something may be 
done by promising to restore 
the fueros of Biscay ; but even 
that is doubtful, for the Basques 
have a lively recollection of the 
evils brought on them by the 
last war. And they indeed 
they as much as any Spaniards 
have been affected by the 
Zeitgeist. Four - and - twenty 
years of peace, during which 
French capital has poured in 
to make railways and English 
to develop mines, have wrought 
a great change. There has 
been a break in the tradition 
which made the old Carlist 
wars possible. First came Na- 
poleon's invasion, which cov- 
ered Spain with guerrilleros. 
The revolutionary Cortes at 
Cadiz offended and frightened 
the mass of the people. The 
troubles of Ferdinand's reign 
kept the organisation of civil 
war alive, and it was ready to 
fight for the first Don Carlos, 
Isabel's reign brought no settled 



peace, and a great rally of old 
Spanish lawlessness was pos- 
sible between 1868 and 1874. 
Since then there has been a 
solution of continuity. The 
cabecilla race is not extinct. 
Churchmen can still be found 
who regret the Inquisition. 
Given another military revolu- 
tion, another outbreak of Re- 
publican folly, another collapse 
of Government, and the " men 
of the mountains" may again 
fly to arms to protect them- 
selves. They will hardly " take 
to the Sierra " again, out of 
mere enthusiasm for a claimant 
to the throne who has even 
given up pretending that he 
will restore the absolutism and 
the authority of the Church, 
which were once loved as a 
protection against hated inno- 
vations. As for mere promises 
of better government, the an- 
swer to them is like to be in 
the words of our friend the 
priest, " Estamos muy cansado 
de todo," We are sick of all 
that, having heard it too often. 



120 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



LORD LYONS. 



IN the December number of 
'Blackwood' there appeared a 
brilliant article from the pen of 
Sir Henry Brackenbury, him- 
self a soldier of no mean 
eminence, setting forth the 
soldierly virtues and heroic 
deeds of Stonewall Jackson. 
The book that was the subject 
of Sir Henry's review was not 
only the biography of a soldier, 
but was written by a colonel in 
the army, who is at the same 
time a Professor of Military 
Art and History at the Staff 
College. In such matters the 
army is far ahead of the navy. 
It is not so much that there are 
numbers of men in the army 
who can wield the pen with a 
grace and facility that few 
naval men possess; but the 
navy itself scarcely recognises 
yet that there is such a thing 
as naval history, or that the art 
of naval war needs close and 
earnest study by those who 
hope to shine in their country's 
service. But in these last days 
a change is becoming apparent. 
Not only has that brilliant 
luminary Captain Mahan light- 
ened the darkness with his clear 
and terse writings, which even 
the man in the street reads with 
interest, and enters into the 
spirit of; but many others are 
following in his footsteps, and 
the book 1 now before me is quite 
as much a contribution to naval 



history as it is a tribute to the 
memory of one who, like Henry 
Lawrence, was essentially a 
man who " tried to do his 
duty." Writing as I do, as 
a naval officer and not as a 
professional critic, I cannot 
undertake to lay down the 
law as to whether Captain 
Eardley-Wilmot's book is a lit- 
erary success ; but this I would 
say to all those who are in- 
terested in the sea-power of our 
empire, read the book, and you 
will get a clearer idea of the 
kind of men upon whom under 
God the wealth, peace, and 
safety of our empire does 
mainly depend. For it has 
been well said that amidst the 
extraordinary changes which 
fighting ships and their 
weapons have undergone with- 
in the last half -century, it is 
a most remarkable fact that 
the men remain in all essentials 
much what they were. It is 
true that the modern seaman 
knows more about hydraulic 
buffers, and the latest dodge in 
cam -levers, than he does of 
reefing a topsail or furling a 
topgallant sail in a breeze; 
but at bottom he is much the 
same man,. more self -controlled 
certainly, but the same cheer- 
ful, tireless, intrepid, resourceful 
Jack Tar that he was of old. 

Before opening the book I 
have a word to say to Captain 



1 Life of Vice- Admiral Edmund, Lord Lyons, G.C.B., &c., with an Account of 
Naval Operations in the Black Sea and Sea of Azoff, 1854-56. By Captain S. 
Eardley-Wilmot, R.N. London: Sampson Low, Marston, & Co. 



1899. 



Lord Lyons. 



121 



Eardley - Wilmot or his pub- 
lisher. Why make the book 
VfO heavy? It surely is not 
necessary that every naval 
book should come up to the 
weight of a 3 -pounder shell! 
I know that there is good, or 
shall I say weighty, precedent 
for this procedure ; am I not 
myself the happy possessor of 
a volume of Colomb's 'Naval 
Warfare,' which was considered 
by its purchaser too ponderous 
for a sea-going bookshelf ? But 
surely it should be possible to 
cut down the displacement of 
an interesting book like this, 
so that it can be read with 
comfort when resting in an 
arm - chair during the watch 
below. Captain Eardley -Wil- 
mot does not profess to find 
anything of the genius or of 
the hero in Lord Lyons; his 
book is rather the plain nar- 
rative of the life of a man who 
was born in stirring times, and 
who lived to be Naval Com- 
mander-in-Chief in the Medi- 
terranean in time of war, and 
though never called upon for 
great deeds, showed readiness 

(and capacity in all that he 
undertook. 
Lyons was born in 1790, of 
a good stock ; his father owned 
property both in Antigua and 
in Hampshire, and had lived 
in both places. It was at the 
home in England that Lyons 
was born. Being the fifth of 
sixteen children, he had to push 
his own way without much 
help from home : he was, how- 
ever, the fortunate possessor of 
j a childless godfather in Admiral 
then Captain Sir Richard 
Bickerton, who gave the lad 



his first start in the Service, 
and had him entered in his 
cousin's ship, the Maidstone 
frigate, at eleven years of age, 
just after the peace of Amiens 
was signed. The Maidstone 
lay at Portsmouth for three 
months getting her crew on 
board, and we gain a little 
insight into the kind of train- 
ing that turned out the gallant 
and talented officer and accom- 
plished diplomatist that Lyons 
afterwards became. Captain 
Moubray, besides being captain 
of a frigate, was also practi- 
cally the head - master of a 
school for young officers, his 
under -masters being the gun- 
ner, the carpenter, besides the 
clerk, who, young Lyons writes, 
" teaches us to read, write, sum, 
and spell." The boy's letters 
are naive : 

" Captain Moubray intends taking 
me and some more of the younkers 
in his cabin to teach us arithmetic 
till he gets a schoolmaster. There 
were four more men hung on board 
some of the ships here yesterday." 

The "four more" corpses dan- 
gling at the yard-arm, and this 
at home in time of peace, was 
a stern object-lesson for the 
younker, demonstrating forc- 
ibly that discipline must be 
maintained. Before starting 
for the Mediterranean the little 
boy of eleven writes, "I beg 
you will send me some money, 
as I have a great many things 
to buy." How far his bear- 
leader the gunner, with whom 
he was " as happy as a king," 
helped him in these purchases 
we are not told. He has, too, 
to exercise discrimination as to 
his messmates, for in those days 



122 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



the youngsters were commonly 
in separate messes, not, as now, 
all messing together in the gun- 
room. So young Lyons writes 
to his mother : 

"There are a great many wicked 
boys in this ship, but I do not as- 
sociate with them. There is one 
little boy about my age, who is a 
very good-natured gentlemanly lad. 
There are likewise two or three 
young men who I associate with and 
like very much." 

The boy was anything but a 
prig, and he was doubtless lay- 
ing the foundation of a high 
character in keeping clear of 
the "wicked boys." 

Later on, when Lyons is a 
mid. of sixteen, we get another 
glimpse of a man-of-war as 
a training - school for young 
gentlemen. This time it is the 
line -of -bat tie ship Ajax, under 
Nelson's celebrated frigate cap- 
tain, Blackwood. The ship was 
unfortunately burnt at anchor 
off the Dardanelles, the fire 
spreading with such rapidity 
that in a few minutes, almost 
before the boats from other 
ships could reach her, she was 
a mass of flames fore and aft. 
No less than 270 men perished. 
Lyons tells his mother : " Cap- 
tain Blackwood had thirty little 
mids. under his care, from the 
age of eleven to fifteen years. 
Many of them, not being able 
to swim, were lost." Indeed 
Blackwood himself had to jump 
overboard, and was picked up 
by a boat ; so it is not to be 
wondered at that so many poor 
little lads went down with the 
ship. Fire was a terrible enemy 
in the ships of a hundred years 
ago, and many a mother who 



intrusted her boy to some cap- 
tain's care never saw him again. 
On arriving in the Medite^ 1 
ranean Lyons found the station 
temporarily in command of his 
godfather, Bickerton, and the 
lad fared well and made friends. 
When he had been afloat some 
eighteen months war broke out 
again, and the crew of the 
Maidstone were turned over to 
the Active, a larger frigate, 
which ship was sent to watch 
Toulon under Nelson's orders, 
he having come out as com- 
mander -in -chief. Most unfor- 
tunately, no letters are extant 
to tell us of the next two years, 
which were spent at sea, always 
at sea, in fair weather or foul, 
watching first Latouche - Tre- 
ville and then Villeneuve with 
his growing force which never 
would put to sea. Captain 
Eardley-Wilmot speaks of " the 
excitement of blockading work." 
As a matter of fact, there was 
little more excitement about it 
than there is in a long and 
dreary night-watch. The wea- 
ther was often terrible, the 
ships old and rotten, with crazy 
masts, threadbare sails, and no 
supplies of spare gear to fall 
back upon. The Active, Phrebe, 
and Seahorse were the only 
frigates which could be spared 
to watch Toulon ; and this, too, 
when Nelson himself was writ- 
ing : "I am kept in great dis- 
tress for frigates and smaller 
vessels at this critical moment. 
I want ten more than I have." 
But Nelson did not get his frig- 
ates. Our commerce cried out 
aloud for protection, and- though j 
we had some 400 frigates ana 
smaller craft actually in com- 



1899.] 



Lord Lyons. 



123 



jion, no more could be spared 
>m their work of commerce 
>tection. If this was the case 
dth our limited trade of a 
lundred years ago, what would 
lappen now, when our com- 
lerce has increased tenfold? 
But to return to the Active, 
iptain Moubray having Nel- 
>n's written directions to per- 
>rm the service of watching 
"oulon " with due caution," we 
well imagine young Lyons 
signal midshipman watching 
le enemy's frigates "cutting 
ipers off Cape Sepet," and 
longing to have a go at them 
-but no, the Commander-in- 
lief's orders are clear, due 
tution must be exercised, and 
there is nothing to do but obey. 
At last, after eighteen months 
)f weary watch, on January 18, 
.805, the word is passed from 
louth to mouth, the French 
coming out. These weather- 
worn frigates were prepared for 
3tion always : there was little 
to do, but a great exultation in 
jvery heart, and high hopes that 
irough their untiring watch- 
less Nelson and his fleet 
rould speedily be warned, and 
le day of action would come at 
ist. 

As night fell the wind rose, 
until it was blowing a hard gale. 
On went the heavy French 
liners, and after them in the 
darkness tore the two British 
frigates Active and Seahorse, 
risking their shaky spars in the 
rising gale. Before morning 
broke the two frigates hauled 
their wind, with their lee guns 
Bearing through the water at 
every roll, and at their best 
speed made for Maddalena to 



meet Nelson, with the signal 
flying, " The enemy is at sea." 
Immediately the frigates ap- 
peared, up anchor was the order ; 
but what of the falling darkness 
and the dangerous channel to 
be traversed? This was noth- 
ing to those well-tried seamen. 
Safely and swiftly the whole of 
the fleet passed through the 
rock - bound straits between 
Biche and Sardinia, and by 7 
P.M. all were clear. But now 
came bitter disappointment. Oh 
for more frigates to scour the 
seas, for no trace of the French 
fleet could anywhere be found. 
For the whole of the next 
month Nelson, in an agony of 
mind, was searching, searching, 
searching, now off Messina, 
Palermo, Naples, then to Greece 
and even Egypt, but no news of 
the French anywhere. At last, 
on February 19, on returning to 
Malta, he learnt that the French 
had put back to Toulon. Once 
more, then, the frigates were 
left to their weary watch, and 
the ships of the line snatched 
a little repose in Palmas Bay, 
Sardinia. 

But the French really mean 
business now, so that, on March 
31 the dreary monotony of 
the never-ending watch was 
broken, and the Phoebe and 
Active are again following the 
French fleet. As night falls 
the Phoebe is detached by the 
Active to carry the news to 
Nelson, and the Active fol- 
lows through the night. Alas ! 
when day breaks the French 
have disappeared. No one has 
been blamed for this, so we may 
be sure that Moubray did his 
best, and that it was impossible, 



124 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



owing to the activity of the 
French frigates, to follow more 
closely; but we can well imagine 
the dismay on board, in which 
young Lyons, as signal mid., 
must doubtless have shared. 
Once more the search for the 
French is resumed, and for six- 
teen days no news of them is 
obtained. Then it is discovered 
that they made for Gibraltar, 
which they passed eight days 
before. Nelson is now terribly 
delayed by foul winds, and does 
not reach the Straits of Gib- 
raltar till May 7, by which 
time the French, with nearly 
a month's start, are three- 
quarters of the way across the 
Atlantic. How Nelson finally 
brought the French to book on 
the 21st October in Trafalgar 
Bay all the world knows; but 
the Active took no part in this 
glorious work, she was so 
weather-worn that it was neces- 
sary to send her home for re- 
pairs. When she returned to 
the Mediterranean she was rele- 
gated to the humdrum duties of 
commerce protection. In 1807 
young Lyons, still in the Active, 
was in Duckworth's expedition, 
which made a naval demonstra- 
tion off Constantinople. This 
was a failure, and simply re- 
sulted in our ships being severely 
handled by the Dardanelles forts 
as they returned. The Active 
had eight men wounded the 
first casualties that had hap- 
pened on board that ship during 
four years of war. Bickerton 
was now at the Admiralty, and 
young Lyons was sent home at 
the age of seventeen, after some 
six years' knocking about in 
frigates, during which time he 



was constantly at sea, so that, 
though young in years, he was 
already a thorough seaman, aJB 
passed satisfactorily for lieu- 
tenant. His next service was 
in the East Indies, where 
he was at first employed in 
commerce protection in the 
Caroline frigate. This was 
varied by attacks on the Dutch 
settlements in Malay waters. 
Here the garrisons were gener- 
ally living quiet and secure, with 
no thought of danger, when our 
expeditions swooped down upon 
them. Not that the ships carry- 
ing the attacking forces made 
rapid passages far from it ; the 
voyage from Madras to Banda 
Neera, which a cruiser could 
now make in a fortnight, took 
three months. The attack was, 
however, a complete surprise, 
the place being successfully 
assailed by night immediately 
the expedition made the coast. 
A force of 400 left the ship 
at 11 P.M. ; but, as so often 
happens in boat - expeditions, 
half the boats lost their way, 
and only 180 seamen and soldiers 
reached the beach. Nothing 
daunted, this little force ad- 
vanced against a garrison of 
1500. Two forts, including the 
principal work, were carried by 
surprise with scarcely any loss, 
and the following morning the 
Dutch, finding the key of the 
position in the hands of the enemy, 
surrendered. The stealthy ap- 
proach by night, and the final 
rush upon the works, were ex- 
cellently planned and success- 
fully carried out, Lieutenant 
Lyons being amongst the fore) 
most of the stormers. 

Lyons was presently to take 



1899.] 



Lord Lyons. 



125 



the lead in a most gallant ex- 
ploit of the same character, car- 
i*ed out too, not only on his 
own initiative, but contrary to 
the orders which his senior 
officer had given; for the fort 
in question was considered too 
strong to be assailed by the 
small numbers available. Being 
detached with two boats' crews, 
numbering 35 officers and men, 
he decided to attack Fort Mar- 
rack, which mounted 54 guns, 
and had a garrison of 180 men, 
besides two gunboats' crews. 

The result had better be given 
in his own words : 

" Having made every necessary ar- 
rangement during the day, I placed 
the boats at sunset behind a point 
which sheltered them from the view 
of the enemy's sentinels. At half- 
past twelve, the moon sinking in the 
horizon, we proceeded to the attack, 
and were challenged by the sentinels 
on opening the point. At this in- 
stant a volley of musketry from the 
enemy precluded all hope of surprise ; 
I therefore ran the boats aground, in 
a heavy surf, under the lower tier of 
guns, and placed the ladders in the 
embrasures, which were mounted 
with that bravery inherent in Brit- 
ish seamen ; whilst a few men, placed 
for the purpose, killed three of the 
enemy in the act of putting matches 
the guns. 

" A few minutes put us in posses- 
sion of the lower battery, where I 
" >rmed the men, and we stormed the 
Dper one. On reaching the summit 
the hill we perceived the garrison 
Irawn up to receive us. They sus- 
uned our fire, but fled from the 
large on my calling to them that 
re had 400 men and would give no 
luarter." 

Lyons found it impossible to 
lold the fort so gallantly won, 
it was at once fired upon 
another battery and two 
inboats. After disabling the 



guns he therefore retired to the 
boats, one of which he found 
stove. He made good his re- 
treat to the ship in the remain- 
ing boat, not having lost a man, 
and with but four wounded. 

Lyons also took part in the 
successful attack by a joint 
naval and military expedition 
on Java. This enterprise was 
mainly carried out by a mili- 
tary force of 8000 men fur- 
nished from Madras. So ex- 
cellent were all the arrange- 
ments for landing that, although 
the squadron did not arrive 
until the afternoon of the day 
of attack, all the troops were 
on shore before nightfall. After 
a three weeks' siege the place 
fell. In this instance the domi- 
nant sea - power of the British 
navy enabled the troops to be 
spared from India, and also en- 
sured them a safe passage. In 
certain eventualities this type 
of expedition might well be 
repeated in the present day. 
A powerful navy in the East 
will always safeguard the shores 
of India, thus setting free a 
mobile military force, without 
which no conquest can be made. 

Invalided home from the East 
Indies, Lyons was promoted to 
commander at the age of twenty- 
one, and, after rather more than 
a year on half-pay, was given 
the command of a sloop in the 
Channel in 1813. There was 
but little active service in home 
waters in those days ; for 
though the war dragged on, 
the sea -power of France was 
completely crushed. But even 
here Lyons pushed his way to 
the front, and obtained a warm 
commendation from that excel- 



126 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



lent officer, Admiral Foley 
one of Nelson's captains at the 
Nile for his intelligence, zeal, 
and activity. Peace brought 
promotion to post - captain's 
rank, mainly in recognition of 
the approval of the Court, and 
of various magnates, whom he 
was directed to carry to France 
for the peace negotiations. 

But peace also meant utter 
stagnation in the navy. Nine- 
tenths of the ships were paid 
off, and nine - tenths of the 
officers were relegated to half- 
pay. It was hopeless to get 
employment afloat without the 
most powerful interest. So for 
fourteen years Lyons was left 
on shore, and only got a ship 
then owing to the fact that his 
younger brother lost his life at 
the battle of Navarino. Thus 
it was not till he was thirty- 
seven that he was once more at 
sea, in command of the Blonde, 
a 46-gun frigate, destined for 
the Mediterranean. The ship 
very quickly made her name for 
smartness and efficiency, and a 
number of mids. were confided 
to his care, for though it was 
long since he had been afloat, 
his capacity was well known in 
the service. He was fortunate 
in coming in for a little piece of 
active service in co-operating 
with the French in the siege of 
Morea Castle, which was held 
by the Turks, who were being 
expelled from Greece. Lyons 
also subsequently managed 
matters so well, when senior 
officer of a small British squad- 
ron on the coast of Greece, as 
to win the hearty goodwill of 
the French officers with whom 
he was associated ; and he also 



ingratiated himself with the 
President of Greece. 

The state of affairs in thol^ 
days on the coast of Greece 
was very similar to the pres- 
ent position in Crete ; and then, 
as now, the final satisfactory 
settlement was more due to the 
exertions and good sense of the 
officers on the spot than to the 
protocols of the Concert of 
Europe. Russia, however, hav- 
ing declared war against Tur- 
key, and having advanced as 
far as Adrianople, it was now 
necessary to support the Turks. 
Lyons' ship was selected to take 
a special envoy to Constan- 
tinople, the result of the mis- 
sion being the establishment of 
peace. Lyons then seized the 
opportunity to carry out a 
winter cruise in the Black Sea, 
and thus gained some most use- 
ful experience of those waters, 
which then, as now, were en- 
tirely unknown to all naval 
officers except the Russians 
themselves. 

For seven years in all Lyons 
commanded frigates in the 
Mediterranean first the Blonde 
and then the Madagascar. 
During this time he was almost 
continually in the East. It 
was his ship that was chosen to 
convey King Otho, the young 
Bavarian prince, selected by 
the Powers as first King of 
Greece, to his unruly kingdom. 
His duties at Constantinople 
had introduced him to a num- 
ber of diplomatists, and wher- 
ever he went he won ^golden 
opinions by his tact ancl good 
sense. It was not, therefore, 
surprising that when his servide 
in the Mediterranean was over, 



1899.] 



Lord Lyons. 



127 



and the opportunity offered of 
Jiis being appointed British Min- 
der at the Court of Greece, he 
accepted it rather than the 
alternative of going as flag- 
captain to the South American 
station, which was also offered 
him. 

In the year 1835 an active- 
minded man might well consider 
it desirable to abandon the navy, 
jyons had been twenty -one 
rears a captain, and, notwith- 
standing his abilities and his 
many friends, he had been 
fourteen years on half - pay. 
His continuous employment for 
seven years had aroused jeal- 
ousy, as to get even three years' 
employment out of twenty was 
what many a man failed to do. 
If he was fortunate enough to 
put in another three years' 
service in gouth America, there 
would still be a dozen years to 
wait for his flag, most of which 
time would of necessity be spent 
in inaction on half -pay. There 
seemed no chance whatever of 
active service, and the ordinary 
peace service under venerable 
admirals and white-haired cap- 
tains was not by any means 
stirring work. It was in the 
early years of the Queen's reign 
that our fleet had fallen into 
mch a low state that M. Thiers, 
mfident that it was within the 
)wer of the French fleet to 
jtroy it out of hand, was 
iking a casus belli in order to 
mt his plan into execution. 
lost mercifully those optimists 
rho thought that there could 
no possibility be any more 
iropean wars were right on 
lis occasion, for we were un- 
loubtedly on the verge of the 



gravest disaster. Preparation 
for war was the last thing 
thought of. The few appoint- 
ments vacant went to men with 
interest, either family or polit- 
ical, and the very fact that the 
navy was the safeguard of the 
country passed entirely into 
oblivion. 

There is little to say from the 
naval point of view of Lyons' 
services to diplomacy. He 
showed the sense of duty ac- 
quired in the navy by remaining 
fourteen years at his post in 
Athens without once coming 
home. Whilst there he secured 
the approval of various Adminis- 
trations, and carried out the 
policy of Lord Palmerston with 
that great Minister's approba- 
tion, receiving a baronetcy in 
reward of his services. 

From Athens he was trans- 
ferred to Berne and thence to 
Stockholm, and it was here, in 
October 1853, in anticipation 
of the war with Russia, that 
he received his appointment as 
second in command of the Medi- 
terranean station. It seems 
very strange that a diplomatist, 
who had practically left the ser- 
vice for more than eighteen 
years, should be specially se- 
lected for such an appoint- 
ment. Under the present 
regulations, which very prop- 
erly lay down that a captain 
who has not served for seven 
years should be compulsorily 
retired, Lyons would long be- 
fore have been placed on the 
Retired List. As it was, he 
had received his promotion to 
rear - admiral when Minister 
at Berne, having gone up the 
Active List at exactly the same 



128 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



rate as if continuously afloat. 
His age on promotion was 
fifty-nine, and he found him- 
self one of 75 rear - admirals, 
many if not most of whom 
were more than seventy years 
of age, and none at all under 
fifty-five, which is the maxi- 
mum age under present regu- 
lations for a rear-admiral on 
promotion. Of the 75 only 2 
were actively employed afloat, 
and 6 others in various har- 
bour or shore appointments. 
It was not therefore remark- 
able that when three years 
afterwards, in 1853, Sir James 
Graham, then First Lord of 
the Admiralty, was looking out 
for an active rear-admiral for 
the Mediterranean, his choice 
fell upon Sir Edmund Lyons. 
His commander-in-chief, Vice- 
Admiral Dundas, though one 
of the youngest vice-admirals, 
was sixty - eight years of age : 
his service during the last forty 
years had been mainly political ; 
he was a sound Whig and an 
ex-Lord of the Admiralty, but 
of sea experience he had very 
little. 1 Dundas's flag - captain 
was over sixty-five, and there 
were other captains in the 
squadron who were well be- 
yond the present retiring age 
of fifty-five ; others again owed 
their appointments to political 
interest. Sir James Graham 
informed Lyons that he was 
to be ready to supply Dundas's 
place " in case of accident." 
That the best and most 



straightforward course would 
have been to relieve Dunda* 
at once few will deny. Buw 
this Sir James was not appar- 
ently strong enough to do. 
He continued to correspond 
privately with the rear - ad- 
miral when in the presence of 
his commander-in-chief, saying 
for example in one letter, dated 
September 1854, just before the 
departure of the expedition to 
the Crimea 

" You are the life and soul of this 
great enterprise. Long ago you have 
declared that all is ready at Malta 
and at Constantinople. . . . Your part 
has been well performed : I hope that 
others will now proceed to rival you. 
It is not the wish of Admiral Dundas 
to remain much longer on foreign 
service. His health is failing, and 
he wishes to be relieved as soon as 
it can be done consistently with his 
honour. My intention is that you 
should be his successor." 

And yet Dundas was kept 
for three months longer com- 
mander-in-chief. Sir Edmund 
Lyons was second in command 
for no less than fourteen months 
in all. That the navy did well 
all that it undertook in the 
Crimea was in no sense due 
to the wisdom of the Admiralty 
administration. Lyons would 
have been more than human if 
he had not, under these circum- 
stances, given vent on one or 
two occasions to impatient ex- 
pressions concerning his com- 
mander-in-chief ; and it is ex- 
ceedingly creditable to him that 
there was no open rupture. 



1 Kinglake tells us that the command in the Mediterranean had been granted 
as a pleasant marine retirement, which a good faithful Whig had earned hy toll 
at the Board in Whitehall, by toil in the lobbies of the House of Commons, by 
long and enduring patience on the cushions of the Treasury Bench. 



1899.] 



Lord Lyons, 



129 



But to return to affairs in 
jt-^e autumn of 1853, after which 
^riod Captain Eardley - Wil- 
mot's book becomes more of a 
naval history than a biography. 
He gives us no further light 
on the so-called "massacre of 
Sinope." Why the Turkish 
ships were kept at Sinope, 
courting certain destruction, is 
one of those mysteries which 
will probably be never solved. 
Lyons had arrived at Con- 
stantinople a week before the 
disaster ; but even if he or the 
other admirals had pointed out 
to the Turks the fatuity of 
their conduct, it scarcely seems 
likely that they would have 
been listened to. 

At this time there was not 
only a council of ambassadors 
at Constantinople, but a council 
of admirals as well. As usual, 
the multitude of counsellors did 
not tend to action, and for a 
long time nothing was done. 
Public opinion at home calling 
loudly for some kind of demon- 
stration, the combined French 
and English fleets entered the 
Black Sea on January 3, 1854, 
with the object, so the Russians 
were informed, "of protecting 
the Sultan's dominions from 
hostile aggressions." Although 
war was not yet actually de- 
clared, this was virtually an 
act of war. 

The author thus describes 
Sir Edmund Lyons at this 
time : 

"Though Sir Edmund Lyons had 
entered upon his sixty-fourth year, 
lie possessed at this period great 
activity of mind and body. . . . The 
t.rpression of his countenance de- 
noted a sanguine temperament, with 
much decision of character." 

VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



Though nominally only second 
in command, he henceforward 
practically took the lead in the 
British fleet. 

Captain Eardley - Wilmot 
never mentions the force which 
the Russians had in the Black 
Sea, nor does it appear to 
have much concerned the allied 
fleet, since no attempt was 
made to ascertain either its 
strength or position. At the 
same time, comparatively weak 
squadrons of English and 
French steamships were de- 
tached from the main fleets 
to patrol the Turkish coast. 
Sinope was made the head- 
quarters of the Allies. It is 
interesting to note that Lyons, 
writing from this place, speaks 
of the " late attack of the 
Russians." There is no indi- 
cation that the officers on the 
spot regarded the Sinope affair 
as other than a most legitimate 
operation of war. As a matter 
of fact, it much resembled the 
recent destruction of the Span- 
ish squadron at Manila. The 
cruise of the allied fleets only 
lasted three weeks, when they 
returned to Constantinople. 
Cap tarn Eardley- Wilmot gives 
some interesting letters that 
passed between Lord Stratford 
de Redcliffe and the admirals 
on the strategical situation. 
Neither the ambassador nor 
the admirals appeared to grasp 
the fact that to prevent the 
Russians from doing mischief 
their fleet should be blockaded 
or masked, and in any case a 
close watch should be kept 
upon them. This was not 
done, but Turkish troops and 
stores were conveyed into the 
I 



130 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



Black Sea by a few steamers, 
almost as if courting a Russian 
attack ; but the Russians re- 
fused to come out. War did 
not actually break out till 
April 9, 1854, more than three 
months after the allied squad- 
rons had been acting together ; 
but they were still unprepared 
for combined action. The 
writer remarks 

" Plans for sailing and navigation, 
to bring different methods of signal- 
ling and tactics into harmony, had 
to be organised ; and though much 
had been done towards this end 
during the time the two squadrons 
lay together in the Bosphorus, it 
required a few days after war had 
been declared to complete them. 



When people talk glibly about the 

igth conferred by ai 
they little knew how difficult it is 



strength conferred by an alliance, 



to make things go smoothly, especi- 
ally when the forces are acting side 
by side." 

For ten days the fleets did 
nothing. It was then decided 
to bombard Odessa. For this 
purpose seven steamers and one 
sailing frigate were detached, 
and threw a number of shells 
into the storehouses and shore- 
batteries of Odessa, and then 
drew off. The effect does not 
seem to have been great. The 
fleets remained doing nothing 
off Odessa for another week, 
and then blockaded Sevastopol 
for six days, after which they 
returned to Varna. In the 
meantime a small squadron 
under Lyons, comprising both 
British and French steamers, 
raided the coast of Circassia. 
The Russians most wisely evacu- 
ated the smaller ports, and con- 
centrated 8000 men at Anapa, 
which -was therefore far too 
strong for the squadron to deal 



with. One little place Re- 
doute Kaleh was taken 
the help of a Turkish fo 
landed for the purpose. Lyons 
here showed his diplomatic ca- 
pacity by his success in keep- 
ing on cordial terms with the 
French. 

During the months of May, 
June, and the early part of 
July, the twenty line-of-battle 
ships composing the main body 
of the allied fleets lay at Varna, 
with little or nothing to occupy 
them save assisting in the land- 
ing of the troops and their 
stores. The Russian fleet of 
fifteen sail-of-the-line lay un- 
watched 250 miles off at Sevas- 
topol. On July 19 a council 
met, and decided to attack 
Sevastopol. It was only then 
discovered that nothing was 
known of the place, and the 
combined fleet stood across to 
the Crimea to reconnoitre. 
The reconnaissance was, how- 
ever, most cursory ; no sound- 
ings were taken, and the mouth 
of the Katscha river, which 
as a result of this reconnais- 
sance was agreed on as the 
best place for landing an expe- 
dition, afterwards proved un- 
suitable. Lyons was now given 
definite charge of all the trans- 
port arrangements ; and as the 
home authorities when provid- 
ing transports had taken no 
thought as to how the men, 
horses, and guns were to be 
landed, the work of providing 
the necessary boats and pon- 
toons had to be done by the 
officers of the fleet. The counr 
try was fortunate in havii?Jfc 
under Lyons a young and ener- 
getic set of officers. His flag- 



1899.] 



Lord Lyons. 



131 



captain, Mends, especially dis- 
x 'xiguished himself by the ability 
with which he arranged the 
details of the scheme for land- 
ing a large number of men, 
horses, and guns at one and 
the same time on an open 
beach. 

In the middle of these pre- 
parations came the cholera. The 
French army lost 4000 men, 
and in one of their line-of -battle 
ships 140 men died in three 
days. The mortality amongst 
the British did not amount to 
more than one -fifth of the 
above, but still it was most 
severe and discouraging. It was 
at this trying time that Sir 
Edmund's cheerfulness and de- 
termination to go on was most 
useful in supporting the waver- 
ers. At last, on August 20, it 
was finally decided that the ex- 
pedition was to go at once, and 
September 2 was fixed for the 
start. Varna was a nasty place 
for an embarkation, with a 
heavy swell breaking on an 
open beach ; but the seamen 
did marvels. Captain Eardley- 
Wilmot quotes a " staff-officer's 
letter " : 

"The sea was very rough, and it 
took us some time to get alongside, 
and then no little difficulty in putting 
the things on to the already frightened 
horses. I never saw anything like 
the pluck of the bluejackets. . . . 
One horse would not allow the slings 
to be put under him, and kept on 
lashing out with one hind-leg in a 
most furious manner (it was too 
rough to kick with both, or he would 
have fallen). This beast was delay- 
ing the embarkation of the other 
horses, so one sailor called out to his 
ssmate, 'Jack, next time he kicks 
lay hold of his leg,' which Jack very 
coolly did, and to our utter astonish- 
ment the horse stood perfectly still 



and only snorted. In another second 
he was swinging in the air half-way 
up the ship's side." 

But work as they would, 
the British transports were not 
ready quite as soon as the 
French, for we had far more 
cavalry and artillery than they. 
Under these circumstances the 
French sailed on September 5, 
and the British two days after- 
wards, on the 7th. On the 8th 
the fleets united. Before this 
junction the Russians had a 
splendid opportunity for at- 
tack. They were stronger than 
the French, and were quite un- 
watched at Sevastopol only 
200 miles off; and, as Captain 
Eardley - Wilmot points out, 
even if beaten they might have 
broken up the expedition and 
defeated its purpose, for that 
year at any rate. 

Now came more delays : the 
French were not satisfied with 
the Katscha, and asked for a 
conference, and a fresh recon- 
naissance had to be made. This 
took two days, during which 
time the expedition anchored 
in an entirely unprotected 
anchorage, where bad weather 
would have been most serious. 
When the landing-place was 
decided upon the flotilla weighed, 
and proceeded to a point some 
thirty miles or so from the 
landing-place. Next day they 
made only a dozen miles or so, 
and again anchored this time 
at Eupatoria. Finally, they 
arrived at "Old Fort," nine 
days after the French had 
started, and seven days after 
the sailing of the British por- 
tion of the flotilla the distance 
traversed being about 250 miles. 



132 



Lord Lyons. 



{Jan. 



As Captain Eardley - Wilmot 
points out, during all this time 
either bad weather or the Rus- 
sians might have completely 
broken up the expedition. And 
though the landing began in 
such fine weather that more 
than half the army was landed 
in twelve hours, bad weather 
then set in, and no less than three 
days were taken in landing the 
remainder, so that it took four 
days to put some 50,000 men 
on shore. This, too, with no op- 
position whatever, either afloat 
or ashore, and with the boats of 
a large fleet to assist. The 
author does well to point out 
that an invasion is not quite 
such an easy operation as some 
would have us believe. Even 
after the successful battle of the 
Alma, the armies were still en- 
tirely dependent on the fleets 
for food and stores, as, indeed, 
they remained all through the 
war ; and if the command of the 
Black Sea had at any time 
passed into the hands of the 
enemy, the expeditionary force 
must have surrendered. 

Captain Eardley - Wilmot 
throws no light on the ques- 
tion as to who it was that first 
mooted the idea of the flank- 
march and the change of direc- 
tion of the operations; and he 
is unable to find any papers to 
corroborate Sir E. Hamley's 
view that Sir E. Lyons urged 
Lord Raglan to attack the 
North Side. 

When once the expedition 
was landed, and the Russians 
had crippled their fleet by sink- 
ing seven ships across the mouth 
of the harbour, the main work 
of the allied fleets was done: 



still, without the assistance of 
the men and guns from t^ 
ships, it is probable that tne 
siege would have failed. Al- 
together, from first to last, 
4500 men were landed from 
the fleet, about 1200 being 
usually on shore at the same 
time. Their losses in killed 
and wounded amounted to 575. 
About half the guns for the 
siege batteries were also sup- 
plied from the ships. 

The one operation in the 
Crimea in which the navy 
failed to satisfy those who 
believe that ships can go any- 
where and do anything was 
the attack on the sea-front of 
Sevastopol. Captain Eardley- 
Wilmot devotes some space to 
considering the reasons for the 
attack, and falls foul of Sir 
E. Hamley because that officer 
ascribes to Sir E. Lyons' in- 
fluence over Lord Raglan the 
very strongly worded request 
made by the general that the 
navy should assail the forts. 
There is no doubt that Sir E. 
Hamley writes strongly, and in 
styling Lyons "Lord Raglan's 
evil genius," or in stigmatising 
his zeal as " his rash desire to 
do something effective," he is 
probably taking an extreme 
view. On the other hand, as 
Captain Eardley- Wilmot him- 
self points out, it is clear that 
Lyons was constantly with Lord 
Raglan, and that his advice 
had great influence. Moreover, 
Hamley was on the spot, and 
had good opportunities of 
gauging the effect of Lyons' 
advice, and Captain Eardl^p- 
Wilmot's evidence is mainly of 
a negative character. Nor was 




899.] Lord Lyons. 133 

advice always confined to sea -forts, the most important 
tters maritime. For example, being that the works should be 
the battle of the Inker- engaged at close range. This 
an " Sir Edmund recom- was impossible at Sevastopol, 
.ended, however, that our where, moreover, the works 
tteries [i.e., the siege-batteries] were exceptionally strong. To 
should reopen fire the next day have materially assisted the 
as if nothing unusual had oc- army in the assault, the ships 
curred, and this view prevailed." should have been in a position 
Though there is no evidence to enfilade or take in reverse 
as to Lyons' opinion of the the works to be attacked by 
flank -march, it is plain that the army. To do this it was 
he thought well of Balaclava, necessary to go a mile or so 
in which, as Captain Eardley- past the outer forts and well 
Wilmot makes clear, he was into the harbour, an impos- 
fully justified, for that insig- sible achievement, owing to the 
nificant little harbour held 200 sunken ships, which, moreover, 
vessels safely. The length of equally prevented our vessels 
road between Balaclava and from coming to close quarters 
the British lines was not Lyons' with the inner forts. The only 
business ; but on Lord Raglan thing left for the fleet to do 
must rest the responsibility for was to attack the sea-faces of 
the final decision as to the the outer forts; but, had every 
base for supplies. Lyons was gun here been silenced, it would 
also in favour of an attack still have been almost as diffi.- 
on the forts by the navy. He cult as before to get into the 
writes when at Balaclava, "I harbour. Whether either the 
am naturally very anxious to admirals or the generals realised 
rejoin the fleet and take part this at the time is extremely 
in the attack on the batteries, doubtful. Lyons himself was 
which should of course take so hard at work at Balaclava 
place simultaneously with the that it is probable he did 
assault on Sevastopol by the not get time to thoroughly 
army." And again his bio- reconnoitre the forts, indeed, 
grapher records, " Sir Edmund there never seems to have been 
anticipated the fleet would join overmuch reconnoitring in the 
in the attack, and no doubt Crimea at any time. King- 
he so expressed himself to Lord lake, whose detailed account of 
Raglan." Sir E. Hamley may the attack remains the best 
have used the epithet " rash " that we have, and who is 
rather unguardedly, but other- practically uncontradicted so 
wise I agree with him, espe- far as the part assigned to 
cially that Lyons learnt by the British ships is concerned, 
experience how fruitless such supposes that the power of the 
an attack must be. The bio- works was well known, and 
-]rapher well points out the that the navy generally fully 
conditions necessary for success appreciated the difficulty of 
when ships are pitted against doing anything really effective. 



134 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



Captain Eardley - "Wilmot re- 
produces a plan made after the 
attack by Cowper Coles, Lyons' 
flag-lieutenant, representing the 
position taken up by the ships. 
In this plan the power of the 
forts, so far from being under- 
estimated, is considerably ex- 
aggerated. For example, the 
cliff batteries are credited with 
three times the number of guns 
that they really possessed, and 
at least 300 guns in the outer 
forts are depicted as bearing 
on the ships, whilst Todleben 
gives the number as only 152. 
The number of guns in the 
second line of forts is also over- 
estimated, and it is scarcely 
conceivable that Lyons could 
have been at all sanguine of 
success if this plan had been 
before him previous to his leav- 
ing Balaclava. There is noth- 
ing, indeed, in what is brought 
forward by Captain Eardley- 
Wilmot to show that Hamley 
and Kinglake are not correct 
in making it appear that Lyons 
only learnt by bitter experience 
that nothing could be done by 
the ships which would be of 
material assistance to the army. 
The skill and gallantry with 
which the Agamemnon was 
anchored exactly in the posi- 
tion assigned to her has been 
already made clear by King- 
lake. It is not astonishing 
that the landsman gives all 
the credit for the expert hand- 
ing of the ship to the admiral, 
and ignores the captain of the 
Agamemnon, Mends, who was 
really responsible for the work- 
ing of the ship. But in this 
book, which is in great measure 
a popular naval history written 



by a naval officer for the 
general public, the omission of 
Mends' name is somewhat u$r- 
gracious. The handling of 
the Agamemnon is frequently 
alluded to by Captain Eardley- 
Wilmot, especially in connec- 
tion with the weighing of the 
flotilla of transports and the 
entry into Balaclava harbour ; 
but in each instance the credit 
is given to Lyons, without any 
mention or explanation that 
even a flag - ship is always 
handled entirely by her captain. 
Owing mainly to the fact 
that the French insisted on 
carrying out their part of the 
attack at very long ranges, the 
much - talked - of naval attack 
was really only a reconnaissance 
in force. The fleets carried 
about 12,000 men, and the total 
loss in killed and wounded 
amounted to only 450. Not a 
single ship was disabled, though 
the Albion was a good deal 
damaged. More than a third 
of this loss was borne by the 
Agamemnon, Sanspareil, and 
Albion, which were the only 
three ships really warmly en- 
gaged for any time. The Lon- 
don, Rodney, and Arethusa also 
assisted this inshore squadron; 
but the combined fire of the six 
ships, although it produced some 
temporary effect, failed to silence 
the guns which they engaged. 
These guns, according to Tod- 
leben, did not number much 
more than twenty or thirty. 
The gallant attack of the in- 
shore squadron, therefore, went 
quite far enough to make it 
clear that it was hopeless f<^ 
the fleets to break their way 
into the harbour, whilst outside 



^899.] 



Lord Lyons. 



135 



ley could do nothing to assist 
10 assault. Lyons' gallantry, 
^ j>wever, had an excellent moral 
Feet, and prevented the fleet 
over depressed at their 
Lure. 

At last, in December 1854, 
eight months after war was 
declared, Dundas was relieved. 
This officer's popularity had 
been rapidly on the wane, and 
when Lyons on his departure 
ordered the signal to be made, 
" May happiness await you ! " 
the fleet was quite entranced 
when a blundering signal-officer 
substituted for " happiness " the 
next word on the list, so that 
the signal appeared, " May 
hanging await you " ! Dundas, 
however, was not nearly so 
much to blame as the Adminis- 
tration which kept him in com- 
mand : he ought to -have been 
relieved a year before. When 
Lyons became commander- in - 
chief there was not much fo 
him to do. He gathered round 
him a younger and more ener- 
getic set of officers than his late 
chief, and tried for some time 
in vain to get the French to 
agree to more active measures. 
?he great difficulty was, that to 
)perate on the line of communi- 
in the Sea of Azoff it 
ras necessary to force the 
Jtraits of Kertch. These were 
lefended by powerful batteries, 
ind a land force was required 
to assault them. 

The navy now understood 
most thoroughly that it was 
no use to make an attack from 
the sea on forts without a land- 
r -,^g force to occupy the batteries 
when silenced. But for many 
months not a man could be 



spared from the lines before 
Sevastopol, and it was not until 
the middle of May that the men 
were available. The Kertch 
forts then fell without a blow, 
the Russians retiring when they 
saw that resistance was hope- 
less. Lyons had organised a 
light squadron of small craft 
under young and dashing offi- 
cers, which he sent into the Sea 
of Azoff, his son, Captain Lyons 
of the Miranda, being in com- 
mand. The operations which 
ensued were not of great im- 
portance, for though the sup- 
plies of the Russian army were 
somewhat interfered with, the 
garrison of Sevastopol still re- 
ceived sufficient for their needs. 
The officers and men employed 
on this service, however, showed 
much resource and enterprise, 
young Lyons especially distin- 
guishing himself. His career 
was but a short one, for scarcely 
had he returned to his father 
before Sevastopol than a chance 
shell gave him his mortal wound. 
The loss of such a promising 
son was a great blow to the 
father, and one from which he 
never entirely recovered. He 
remained in command of the 
Mediterranean fleet two years 
after the conclusion of the war ; 
but the comparative rest and 
ease came too late to enable 
him to recruit his shattered 
health. He came home in 
1858, and quietly passed away 
in November from rapid con- 
sumption, brought on by the 
heavy strain that the war en- 
tailed. 

In summing up the qualities 
and services of Lord Lyons, his 
biographer more than once 



136 



Lord Lyons. 



[Jan. 



compares him to Nelson. This, 
in my opinion, is a mistake. 
Nelson was a genius and a 
hero ; Lyons was neither. Nel- 
son was raised up at a time when 
not only the fate of Great 
Britain but that of the liberties 
of Europe depended upon the 
upholding of the sea-power of 
our nation. Great as were the 
sacrifices willingly borne by our 
people, our fleets were con- 
stantly outnumbered at the 
scene of action by those of our 
antagonists, and genius was 
needed in order to ensure vic- 
tory. Lyons was never tried 
in this way. Like many an- 
other gallant seaman, his fore- 
sight was not always clear; he 
was never called upon for a 
great decision ; he never led a 



fleet in search of the enemy. 
His merit consists in his dorrg 
well what came to his hanor, 
his energy was untiring ; he 
won the confidence of his in- 
feriors ; and by his winning 
manners and high character 
secured the respect and cordial 
co-operation of our somewhat 
difficult allies, the French. 
There have been, and there 
will be, many a Lyons in the 
navy, but only one Nelson. 
But Captain Eardley-Wilmot's 
book is not the less valuable for 
this reason, for it does not hold 
up an unapproachable standard, 
but rather shows how a man 
who is not a genius may still 
by devotion to duty live and 
die honourably in his country's 
service. 



1899.] From Foreign Parts : A Song of Devon. 137 



FROM FOREIGN PARTS I A SONG OF DEVON. 

I WAS wanderin' dro' the thicket, hot and wet, and night a- 

comin' : 
All to once I yeard a cricket set to drummin', drummin', 

drummin'. 

Her buzzed so gude and neighbourly I laughed aloud to hear, 
I zimm'd 'twas engine dreshin' wheat to home in Devon-sheer. 
Here us has no ice nor snow, 

Like in purty Devon. 
Oh, to hear the cattle low, 
Winter nights in Devon ! 
" Hark the herald angels sing " 
Mother with her Christmasing, 
Boys all slidin' ring-a-ring 
On our pond in Devon. 

Now the winter days be come, you beside the barn, 
Fill the dresher, make her hum, fed with yellow corn. 
Red the field, and green the bank, sun in mist a-settin', 
Frost in air and smoke lieth low, and I lies here a-sweatin'. 
Shorter grow the afternoons 
(Ricks beside the linhay). 
Early shine the winter moons 

(Ricks beside the linhay). 
Far along the howlets whoopin', 
Milkmaid calleth coop, coop, cooping 
Sweet red cows to farmyard troopin' 
(Ricks beside the linhay). 

Home-brew zider soft as cream, blaze of ashen logs, 
Our little maids like cherubim round the fire-dogs : 
But hereaway I could ha' cried, 'twas just a goin' home, 
I seed un so distinckly when I yeard yon cricket drum. 
Here there be no winter days, 

Same as home to Devon. 
Never see the wood-fire blaze 

( JoUy land of Devon !). 
Here the niggers call me " Zir," 
Oh, to be a labourer, 
Back again amid good cheer 
Back to jolly Devon ! 

EDWARD A. IRVING. 



138 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



THE REBEL KING. 



IT is agreed on all hands that 
Mr Parnell played one of the 
most important parts in the 
political drama of his age. Men 
of every shade of opinion are 
prepared to concur in that view. 
" Parnell was the most remark- 
able man I ever met," was Mr 
Gladstone's mature verdict ; "I 
do not say the ablest man ; I 
say the most remarkable and 
the most interesting. He was 
an intellectual phenomenon." 
Lord Eosebery expressed his 
assent to this judgment the 
other day in Edinburgh. "I 
thought him very remarkable," 
says Mr Chamberlain ; "a great 
man. I have often thought 
Parnell was like Napoleon. He 
allowed nothing to stand in his 
way. He stopped at nothing 
to gain his end." Sir Charles 
Dilke (who, it is to be observed, 
had at least one thing in com- 
mon with the Irish leader) 
attributes to him "inexorable 
tenacity, sound judgment, know- 
ledge of his own mind at all 
times, dauntless courage, an 
iron will, and the faculty of 
controlling himself and others." 
These are not the qualities of 
mediocrity, and we make no 
apology for calling attention 
to the life of a man who un- 
questionably possessed them. 1 
But let there be no misun- 
derstanding. We purpose to 
employ very plain language 
in dealing with our subject. 
We are not to mince mat- 



ters; we are to make no 
lavish use of periphrasis. We 
shall take the liberty of calling 
treason and murder by their 
proper names, and of applying 
the terms "traitor" and "mur- 
derer" to any instigator, as 
well as to any perpetrator, of 
those crimes. For the truth is, 
that Mr Parnell was nothing if 
not the inveterate and implac- 
able enemy of England. It was 
a character in which he gloried, 
and which, to do him justice, 
he would have scorned to re- 
pudiate. We shall, accordingly, 
endeavour to discuss his career 
in precisely the same spirit in 
which we should seek to com- 
ment upon that of the great 
Captain to whom Mr Chamber- 
lain not inaptly compares him. 
But we cannot be answerable 
for it nor, in truth, shall we 
be either surprised or ashamed 
if we are unable to preserve 
a uniform composupe of mood 
and imperturbability of temper. 
It is one thing to review perils 
from the menace of which we 
are separated by the space of 
three generations. It is quite 
another to recall dangers which 
ceased to be desperately formid- 
able only a very few years ago, 
and with which the course of 
events or the exigencies of party 
warfare may once again con- 
front us. The reader, when 
he has refreshed his memory 
with the tale, will not, we are 
persuaded, be slow to pardoul,/ 



1 The Life of Charles Stewart Parnell. By R. Barry O'Brien, of the Middle 
Temple, Barrister-at-Law. 2 vols. London : Smith, Elder, & Co., 1898. 



1899.] 



The Rebel King. 



139 



the occasional ebullition of an 
irresistible and righteous indig- 
nation. 

Charles Stewart Parnell was 
born at Avondale, county Wick- 
low, on the 27th day of June 
1846. On the father's side he 
came of an English family 
which had been settled in Ire- 
land since the Restoration. He 
had as little of the Celt in him 
as Swift. His mother was the 
daughter of an American naval 
officer, of Ulster descent; and 
from her he imbibed that rooted 
animosity towards England 
which was the motive-power 
of his public action. That the 
English were " simply thieves " 
was the sum and substance of 
Mrs ParneU's political belief. 
The poor woman could not 
refrain from giving vent to 
her crazy views even at the 
table of the Lord Lieutenant; 
and she transmitted her peculiar 
form of monomania to more than 
one of her offspring. Charles, 
strangely enough, received his 
whole education in the detested 
country, showing himself at once 
idle and insubordinate. But he 
regarded both his school and 
college days "with peculiar 
aversion." " These English de- 
spise us," so the unhappy crea- 
ture told his brother John, 
"because we are Irish"; and 
he seems to have kept harping 
on that string. A more foolish 
notion never entered a dis- 
ordered brain. Any one who 
knows the English Universities 
must be aware how ridiculous 
' ! .he idea is. Were it not super- 
fluous to cite instances, the 
mere mention of the name of 
King-Harman, so familiar and 



so dear to Oxford men of twelve 
or fifteen years ago, would be 
sufficient to demonstrate its 
absurdity. An Irishman of the 
right sort will be welcomed as 
warmly and as heartily received 
as any Englishman or Scot. It 
is highly probable, we admit, 
that the "aversion" nourished 
by Mr Parnell was entirely 
reciprocated by its objects, 
his schoolfellows, and his con- 
temporaries at Cambridge. But 
the idiosyncrasy, and not the 
nationality, of the man was 
what provoked it. English- 
men, "thieves" though they 
may be, have a large share of 
those generous feelings with 
which that class of persons 
is proverbially credited. The 
undergraduates of the college 
which Mr Pepys once adorned 
were probably as fond of cricket 
as the future Irish leader. But 
when they discovered the spirit 
in which he engaged in that 
pastime when they proved 
him ill-tempered, and "ever 
ready to take advantage of 
every chance to outwit his 
opponents " they doubtless 
preferred his room to his com- 
pany, and told him so. Small 
blame to them if they did. 
Whatever else he may have 
been, Mr Parnell was no 
sportsman. 

His interest in politics was 
first aroused by the Fenian 
movement : and the significance 
of the fact becomes obvious when 
it is remembered, first, that 
Fenianism was a political, not 
an agrarian, propaganda ; and, 
secondly, that it derived its mo- 
mentum from acts of lawlessness 
and violence. Mr O'Brien (need 
we say?) treats us to a good 



140 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



deal of the usual casuistry about 
the Fenian convicts. Courage, 
honesty, a keen point of honour, 
high - mindedness, truthfulness, 
punctilio, sensitiveness such, it 
seems, were a few of their salient 
characteristics. Allen, Larkin, 
and O'Brien intend to kill Ser- 
geant Brett ? Oh, dear, no ! 
Nothing was further from their 
thoughts, poor fellows ! " Their 
sole object was to rescue their 
comrades." To all which beau- 
tiful reasoning so creditable 
to the forensic acumen of Mr 
Barry O'Brien, and to the 
fostering care of his alma 
mater, the Middle Temple we 
can only reply by strongly re- 
commending Irish patriots in 
the rescuing line of business to 
leave such dangerous playthings 
as loaded firearms at home, 
unless they have a fancy for a 
hempen cravat. We are quite 
willing to take it that the 
Fenians were the most virtuous 
and excellent fellows in the 
world. But we are perfectly sure 
that they were " nane the waur 
of a hanging." Mr Parnell, 
for one, made no mistake about 
them. "From the moment he 
first thought seriously of politics, 
he saw, as if by instinct, that 
Fenianism was the key of Irish 
nationality," and that without 
the help of the Fenians no 
man could lead the Home Kule 
movement. In them, to use his 
biographer's phrase, he found 
the lever on which his power 
turned. " I do not want," said 
Mr Parnell, when invited to join 
the I.R.B., which he declined to 
do "I do not want to break 
up your movement. On the con- 
trary, I wish it to go on. Collect 
arms, do everything that you 



are doing, but let the open 
movement have a chance toe* 
We can both help each other?* 
In that last sentence rings the 
key-note of Mr Parnell's policy. 
Physical force by itself would 
come to grief, as it always had 
done. On the other hand, a 
genuinely constitutional agita- 
tion would be merely futile. 
The true means to the end was 
a Parliamentary campaign, with 
the Revolutionists massed behind 
the Parliamentary forces. There 
must always be a body of men 
willing and able, upon his in- 
structions, to sound a rousing 
peal in the chapel-belfry. We 
congratulate the Gladstonians 
upon their quondam ally. 

In 1875, when Mr Parnell 
entered the House of Commons 
for the first time as member for 
Meath, the Irish party was led 
by Mr Isaac Butt, a man of 
considerable humour and of 
many agreeable gifts, but a 
man for whom it is scarcely 
possible to entertain very much 
respect. To him belongs such 
credit as is due for inventing 
the plausible expression " Home 
Rule." As Mr O'Brien dis- 
closes in one of those bursts of 
candour which give his work 
its principal value, "he thought 
the old cry of 'Repeal' would 
frighten the English, but that 
the phrase ''Home Rule' would 
commend itself to every one 
as reasonable and innocent." 
Truly there is much in a name ! 
Mr Butt had not made much pro- 
gress with his cause in the House 
of Commons, and Mr Parnell re- 
solved upon a complete change? 
of method. The concessions 
which could not be extracted 
from the good nature of Great 



1899.] 



The Rebel King. 



141 



Britain should be wrung from 
I .MT fears. The conception was 
;iot wholly original. "Butt's 
a fool, too gentlemanly; we're 
all too gentlemanly," had been 
the terse and sweeping com- 
mentary of a member of the 
Irish party, the exceptional 
baseness of whose mind was 
only equalled by the excep- 
tional deformity of his person. 
This being combined the moral 
and physical peculiarities in- 
separably associated with the 
fictitious character of Mr 
Daniel Quilp; and he it was 
to whom first occurred the bril- 
liant idea of making our rep- 
resentative institutions ridicul- 
ous by deliberately obstructing 
every species of public busi- 
ness. When Mr Parnell, how- 
ever, appeared upon the scene, 
Quilp yielded precedence to the 
genius of a superior strategist. 
The new-comer was not hasty, 
but proceeded by degrees. He 
acquired an unrivalled know- 
ledge of the rules of the House 
by gradually breaking them. 
He learned how to keep his 
finger on the pulse of that 
singular assembly, and to gauge 
the limits of its patience and 
toleration to a nicety. But he 
rarely dropped the mask. The 
amendments which he brought 
forward in such profusion were 
drawn with consummate care 
and skill. He hoodwinked the 
occupants of the Government 
and the Opposition benches 
alike. The Radicals fondly be- 
lieved that something other 
than pure obstruction was his 
^aim, and that he was as gen- 
uinely solicitous as themselves 
to subvert the discipline of the 
army, for example, without 



having any more sinister object 
beyond. Mr Gladstone, it will 
be remembered, was busily en- 
gaged during those momentous 
years in promoting the interests 
of Russia and thwarting the 
policy of Great Britain in the 
near East. Sir Stafford North- 
cote, for all his amiable quali- 
ties and sterling ability, was 
not the man to grasp the true 
character of the conspiracy 
thus set on foot to destroy the 
constitution. Before very long, 
Mr Parnell ousted Mr Butt from 
the leadership of the Irish par- 
liamentary party. This was his 
first great and palpable triumph. 
Butt had steadfastly refused to 
abandon the arts of conciliation 
and persuasion. He was conse- 
quently displaced by a vote of 
the "Home Rule Confederation 
of Great Britain," which was 
largely under the control of 
the Fenians. The year 1877 
marks the formal adoption of 
the new policy: the policy 
of badgering, wearying, and 
threatening the British Parlia- 
ment on the one hand, and of 
simultaneously backing-up par- 
liamentary proceedings by vio- 
lence in Ireland on the other. 

Let us for a moment recap- 
itulate Mr Parnell's sentiments, 
as discovered by his faithful 
and admiring biographer : 

" He resolved to wring justice from 
England, and to humiliate her in the 
process. He wanted not only reparation 
but vengeance as well " (i. 98). " He 
regarded Englishmen as enemies, and 
he would treat them as enemies. He 
did not believe in negotiations. He 
believed in fighting. The fighting 
force in Ireland was the Fenians " (i. 
103). " Had he attempted to break 
up Fenianism, he would have gone to 
pieces. He therefore leant on it ; he 
walked on the verge of treason-felony, 



142 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



and so won the hearts of many of the 
rank and Me " (i. 157). 

This was his frame of mind, 
this his position, when the ag- 
rarian agitation of 1879 was 
started under the auspices of 
the ticket-of-leave man, Davitt, 
among others of his kind. The 
Fenians rallied in large num- 
bers to what Mr Barry O'Brien 
justly describes as " one of the 
most lawless movements which 
had ever convulsed any coun- 
try." Mr Parnell contributed 
not a little to foment the 
turmoil. He advocated "boy- 
cotting" in terms absolutely 
unmistakable. He made the 
celebrated " bread - and - lead " 
speech, for much less than which 
many a rogue has been deserv- 
edly hanged. But he was al- 
ways a little nervous of agra- 
rian agitations. Not that he 
had a weak and childish anti- 
pathy to murder, mutilation, or 
any species of cruelty when 
applied to other people. He 
had all a great man's superb 
contempt for other people's suf- 
ferings. " An outburst of law- 
lessness in Ireland was regarded 
by Parnell simply with a view 
to its effect on the national 
'movement'" (i. 375). What 
he dreaded was lest the peas- 
antry, having secured the cov- 
eted portion of plunder, should 
settle down into a quiet and 
peaceable mode of life. He 
cared not two straws whether 
his countrymen were poverty- 
stricken or prosperous, miser- 
able or happy. He cared a 
very great deal about the humi- 
liation of England. The end 
to which the Land League 
was to serve as a means was 



not the reform of the land- 
law's, but separation from Grea/ 
Britain. "I would not hav<? 
taken off my coat," he declared 
at Gal way, " and gone to this 
work if I had not known that 
we were laying the foundation 
in this movement for the re- 
generation of our legislative 
independence." The vast ma- 
jority of English politicians 
chose to turn a blind eye to his 
real aims. But one great in- 
tellect there was, impenetrable 
to sophistry or self-delusion: 

"My Lord Duke," wrote Lord 
Beaconsfield to the Duke of Marl- 
borough in the spring of 1880, "a 
danger in its ultimate results scarcely 
less disastrous than pestilence and 
famine, and which now engages your 
Excellency's anxious attention, dis- 
tracts Ireland. A portion of its 
population is attempting to sever the 
constitutional tie which unites it to 
Great Britain in that bond which 
has favoured the power and prosperity 
of both." 

r 

What a torrent of derision this 
celebrated letter elicited from 
all the superior and thoughtful 
persons ! Many weak - kneed 
Conservatives, with the pusil- 
lanimity which has too often 
disgraced their party, would 
have disowned it if they 
decently could. But wisdom 
is justified of her children ; and 
subsequent events (to say noth- 
ing of Mr'Parnell's biography) 
have conclusively shown that 
Lord Beaconsfield's view of the 
situation and his statement of 
the issue at stake were the 
true ones. 

The general election of 1880 
sent Mr Parnell back to Wes1 
minster with a " tail " of rap- 
scallions and ruffians, the 
of whom had never sate in a 



1899.] 



The Rebel King. 



143 



British Parliament. Next year 
brought forth a Coercion Bill, 
calculated to produce the maxi- 
mum of irritation with the mini- 
mum of effect, and also a Land 
Act which no words can ade- 
quately condemn. Of all Mr 
Gladstone's attempts at con- 
structive legislation, none have 
turned out such shameful fail- 
ures as his abortive efforts to 
settle the Irish land question. 
Many systems of land tenure 
may be found in the world, 
some good, some bad, and some 
indifferent ; but not one is so 
demonstrably imbecile not one 
is so illogical in theory and so 
inequitable in practice as that 
set up by the Irish Land Acts 
of 1870 and 1881. True, it 
broke faith with the landlords 
and robbed their pockets, and 
that in the eyes of certain 
persons is of the estence of 
land-law reform. But it com- 
municated the benefit of the 
spoil not to the community at 
large, nor yet to succeeding 
generations of occupiers, but to 
a strictly limited class, to the 
present tenants, and to the 
)resent tenants alone. Nay 

tore, it practically secured a 
recurrence of those very evils 

rhich it was meant to cure; 

>r when an occupier has to 
pay a large sum of money every 
year, it matters not whether 
that sum represent rent paid to 
a landlord, or interest on the 
purchase-price of the outgoing 
tenant's interest in the holding. 
Consider, too, the administration 
of the statute of 1881. It has 
"oeen violently attacked by the 
landlord party. Let us hear 
what the ingenuous Mr O'Brien 
has to tell us about it : 



"Parnell had little faith in the 
Land Court per se. He believed that 
the reduction of rents would be in exact 
proportion to the pressure ivhich the 
League could bring to bear upon the 
commissioners. 'By what rule,' I 
once asked an Irish official, 'do the 
Land Courts fix the rents 1 ' 'By the 
rule of funk,' was the answer. Par- 
nell resolved that the * rule of funk ' 
should be rigidly enforced. By the 
' rule of funk ' he had got the Land 
Act. By the ' rule of funk ' he was 
determined it should be adminis- 
tered" (i. 302). 



Was there ever a more in- 
famous travesty of justice? . 

At the very moment when 
Mr Parnell was meditating how 
most effectually to prevent the 
Act of 1881 from benefiting 
anybody, it pleased Mr Glad- 
stone, with much pomp of ora- 
tory, to lay him by the heels. 
The Premier's victim and the 
Premier's enemies for enemies 
he had, like a certain eminent 
architect and land-surveyor 
did not scruple to attribute 
this act to personal pique, 
as who should say that Mr 
Parnell was not giving the 
Land Act a fair chance. We 
know now that Mr Gladstone 
was much too good to have 
been actuated by that sort of 
motive. Indeed, no one but a 
very good man would have 
ventured to do many of the 
things he did. As for Mr. 
Parnell, he went off to prison 
with the prophecy on his lips 
that Captain Moonlight would 
reign in his stead : which, curi- 
ously enough, proved a true 
word. Outrages increased in 
number, audacity, and horror, 
as Mr O'Brien relates with 
calm satisfaction and compla- 
cency. To be sure, they were 
agrarian, which makes a world 



144 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



of difference to your properly 
trained conscience. The Prime 
Minister became restive. An 
influence hostile to the Chief 
Secretary's became paramount 
in the Cabinet. With charac- 
teristic loyalty, Mr Gladstone 
threw over his subordinate. To 
make a long story short, Lord 
Cowper and Mr Forster were 
got rid of, and their places were 
filled by Lord Spencer and Lord 
Frederick Cavendish. Thanks 
to the skilful diplomacy of 
Captain O'Shea, the Kilmain- 
ham treaty became an accom- 
plished fact. Its terms were 
(1) that Mr Parnell should be 
set at liberty; (2) that the 
Government should introduce 
a satisfactory Arrears Bill ; and 
(3) that Mr Parnell should 
"slow down" the agitation (i. 
350). The Kilmainham treaty 
was the second great palpable 
triumph in Mr ParnelTs career. 
Scarcely had he scaled this 
lofty pinnacle when a most 
distressing and regrettable oc- 
currence threatened to dash him 
to the very ground. Certain 
ill-advised and hasty persons 
(" criminal lunatics " Mr Barry 
O'Brien severely calls them) 
actually presumed ultroneously, 
at their own hand, and with- 
out Mr Parnell's sanction, ex- 
press or implied, to assassinate 
the new Chief Secretary, along 
with Mr Burke, a permanent 
official of the Castle. The 
news of the crime, says Mr 
O'Brien, "sent a thrill through 
the land. Agrarian outrages 
were common enough. But 
political crime was something 
new." At the same time, " can- 
dour compels " the worthy bio- 
grapher to own that " it was 



the murder of Lord Frederick 
Cavendish which produced -i 
real feeling of sorrow and oj 
shame among the people." Mr 
Burke did not matter. But the 
chivalrous instincts of a gener- 
ous race were cut to the quick 
by such unpardonable rudeness 
being offered to a comparatively 
harmless stranger. Mr Parnell 
was seriously annoyed about the 
unfortunate affair. It quite up- 
set his calculations. On the 
morning after, he looked very 
much cut up : a highly appro- 
priate and delicate little atten- 
tion on his part. He must have 
been genuinely alarmed to think 
that British patience was per- 
chance exhausted, and that his 
little game was up : 

" An outburst of agrarianism would 
probably have produced no effect upon 
him. The reports which he had re- 
ceived in prison rather prepared him 
for that. Here, however, was a new 
development for which he was not 
prepared, and the exact meaning and 
extent of which he did not on the 
instant grasp" (i. 356). 

Presently, in concert with Mr 
John Dillon and the felon Davitt 
(whose composition the precious 
document was), he conceived the 
happy thought full of tact and 
consideration of signing and 
issuing a manifesto " to the 
Irish people," wherein the mur- 
ders were condemned, and a 
hope was expressed that the 
assassins might be brought to 
justice. The sincerity of this 
pious aspiration was amply at- 
tested by the impotent rage and 
the undisguised uneasiness wit} <\ 
which the condemnation an. 
punishment of the murderers 
were subsequently received in 
Nationalist circles. But Mr 



1899.] 



The Rebel King. 



145 



Parnell's well-meant efforts at 
conciliation were in vain. The 
thoenix Park murders had 
brought the most shocking con- 
sequences in their train. A 
certain weighty and important 
member of the Cabinet was 
seized with a violent attack of 
physical apprehension. What 
if Whitehall, what if West- 
minster, should witness the most 
appalling crime of all the ages ? 
A new Coercion Bill was the 
only cure ; and a new Coercion 
Bill speedily passed into law. 

It was immediately after the 
publication of the manifesto 
just referred to that Mr Parnell 
did NOT address the following 
letter to anybody : 

"DEAR SIR, I am not surprised 
at your friend's anger ; but he and 
you should know that to denounce 
the murders was the only course 
open to us. To do that promptly 
was plainly our best policy. But 
you can tell him and all others con- 
cerned that, though I regret the acci- 
dent of Lord F. Cavendish's death, 
I cannot refuse to admit that Burke 
got no more than his deserts. You 
are at liberty to show him this, and 
others whom you can trust also, but 
let not my address be known. He 
can write to the House of Commons. 
Yours very truly, 

"CHARLES S. PARNELL." 

Pigott was neither an adroit 
nor a successful spy. He was 
not a master of the art of for- 
gery. He inserted in the letter 
a sort of S which Mr Parnell 
had not made since 1878. But 
Pigott builded better than he 
knew. If he could not repro- 
duce Mr Parnell's handwriting, 
He could at least reproduce his 
sentiments with literal accuracy. 
In a dozen lines he puts with 
point and terseness what Mr 

VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



O'Brien takes several pages to 
express. But the sense is ex- 
actly identical. That and no 
other (as we have seen) was Mr 
Parnell's attitude to Fenianism 
in all its branches. Only, an 
" agrarian " outrage in County 
Kerry or County Cork required 
no such pretence or affectation 
of regret for the benefit of the 
English public as a murder in 
the heart of the Irish capital. 
How pleased Lord Spencer must 
be to reflect that seven years 
later he shook Mr Parnell by 
the hand coram publico ! How 
proud Lord Rosebery must feel 
to remember that it was across 
his upright and not prostrate 
body that this amazing act took 
place ! 

For the next three years ob- 
struction inside and crime out- 
side the House of Commons 
went merrily on without much 
intermission. The two depart- 
ments of Nationalist activity 
"helped each other," to use 
Mr Parnell's memorable phrase. 
The " messages of peace " de- 
spatched by Mr Gladstone were 
as futile as they had ever been. 
The agitation was not "slowed 
down." Perhaps the "bhoys" 
the village ruffians, the cattle- 
maimers, the women - torturers 
had got the least little bit 
out of hand. A "constitu- 
tional agitation" of this sort 
is always more easy to accel- 
erate than to retard when the 
steam is fairly up. In any 
event, as a general election 
drew near, Mr Parnell became 
intent upon the parliamentary 
portion of his duties, the play- 
ing off of English politicians 
and English parties one against 
another. He assisted in the 
K 



146 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



overthrow of the Liberal Ad- 
ministration in the early sum- 
mer of 1885. The Conserva- 
tives came into power, and he 
straightway assailed their po- 
litical virtue through the all 
too good - natured and com- 
plaisant offices of the new Lord 
Lieutenant. We can never, we 
confess, look back upon that 
period in the history of the 
party without a sense of hu- 
miliation. The rank and file 
were staunch and true as steel. 
The bulk of the Ministry were 
proof against the insidious and 
corrupting taint. We have Sir 
Michael Hicks-Beach's word for 
that. But it was melancholy 
to see a statesman so amiable 
and so respected as the late 
Lord Carnarvon proceeding so 
far upon the road that leads 
to perdition. We doubt if his 
lordship realised the nature of 
the predicament in which he 
had placed himself, or the grav- 
ity of the suspicions to which 
he became of necessity exposed. 
But we are satisfied that the 
"sough" to which his com- 
munings with the rebel chief 
gave rise, coupled with the 
culpable failure of the Govern- 
ment to renew the expiring 
Coercion Act, produced a far 
from pleasant or favourable 
impression on the mind of the 
country. It was fated, how- 
ever, that neither Lord Ran- 
dolph Churchill nor Mr Cham- 
berlain should be guilty of the 
great betrayal. That enviable 
distinction was reserved for Mr 
Gladstone, on whom, in ad- 
dition to the two statesmen 
just named, Mr Parnell had 
been keeping a specially watch- 
ful eye. We shall not pause 



to inquire into Mr Gladstone's 
motives. We observe that t^e 
late Lord Selborne saw his 
way to place a charitable con- 
struction upon his old friend's 
conduct; and, after all, it is 
of little consequence. It is 
enough to note the fact that, 
not very long after delivering 
a speech in Edinburgh, which, 
alike to those who heard and to 
those who read it, could seem 
nothing save a passionate ap- 
peal to the country against 
Home Rule, he ignominiously 
capitulated. The Home Rule 
Bill of 1886 was the third 
great palpable triumph of Mr 
Parnell's career. 

Times were now changed with 
a vengeance for the Home Rule 
members. Instead of being 
treated as pariahs, they were 
welcomed by the Gladstonian 
Liberals, if not always to their 
hearths and homes, at least to 
their platforms. The "Union 
of Hearts " (such was the cant 
expression) was cemented at 
public banquets amid much en- 
thusiasm and many libations ; 
while the more impudent and 
pushing of the crew had no 
difficulty in effecting an en- 
trance to those capacious houses 
where a new lion is always wel- 
come, no matter how mangy his 
hide or how excruciating his 
roar. Mr Parnell was to be 
tempted into no such genteel 
and fashionable diversions. 
What relaxation he required 
he found in the society of Mrs 
O'Shea; and he continued to 
keep his followers in their proper 
places. Scarce one of theji 
whom he did not treat "like a 
dog," as the saying goes ; not 
one but came crouching to his 



1899.] 



The Rebel King. 



147 



heel with the most admirable 
^Snd affecting obedience. The 
general election of 1886 re- 
sulted in a large majority ad- 
verse to Home Rule ; and Mr 
Parnell knew that, immensely 
as his forces had been increased, 
the day was not yet his. Mr 
Gladstone, indeed, had brought 
to the struggle an energy and 
an unscrupulousness which even 
he had never contributed to the 
cause of any other enemy of 
England. It was his part of 
the business to parade before 
the country the " thoroughly 
constitutional demand for a sub- 
ordinate Parliament." It was 
Mr Parnell's share to see that 
the chapel-bell was kept a-ring- 
ing. They both " helped each 
other." But presently a new 
Chief Secretary arose of a vastly 
different stamp from poor Sir 
George Trevelyan : a Chief Sec- 
retary whom Nationalist sar- 
casm could not wound, nor 
Nationalist calumny reduce to 
tears; a Chief Secretary who 
desired to attain no end but the 
discharge of his duty, by vin- 
dicating the law of the land, 
and by assisting to the utmost 
those officers of the law and 
that loyal remnant who alone 
stood between two-thirds of Ire- 
land and anarchy. He carried 
the most sensible and effective 
Crimes Act ever passed, an 
Act which did not disdain to 
borrow many a valuable hint 
from the criminal procedure 
of North Britain ; and he en- 
tered with a firm heart upon 
that desperate and protracted 
tattle against sedition and law- 
lessness which he carried to so 
glorious an issue, and which 
forms by far the most creditable 



and satisfactory episode in the 
domestic history of the last half- 
century. It is not to be sup- 
posed that a man of Mr Par- 
nell's shrewdness and decision 
was slow to perceive the true 
quality of the adversary now 
pitted against him. 

At one point in this bitter 
contest it seemed to the sup- 
porters of the Union as though 
all were lost. It would be vain 
to deny that the most sensa- 
tional part of the proceedings 
before the Parnell Commission, 
and, in a less degree, the report 
of that respectable and august 
tribunal, were a severe shock 
to the expectations of all loyal 
Englishmen. The affair was 
incredibly mismanaged by the 
prosecution. The 'Times' peo- 
ple were outwitted and out- 
manoeuvred. It is quite true 
that, in the words of a great 
poet, the incriminated Irish 
members were found to have 
been "traitors to the Queen 
and rebels to the Crown." But 
popular interest and attention 
had been concentrated on the 
forged letter; and the deter- 
mination of the Commission 
was regarded, however illogi- 
cally, as a verdict of acquittal. 
The exultation of the disaffected 
knew no bounds. Mr Parnell 
was the hero of the hour. Then 
took place the "historic hand- 
shake" to which we have al- 
luded. It was the very zenith 
of the rebel's influence and 
achievement. No surer proof 
of the predominance of his 
lucky star could be adduced 
than the fact that the Radical 
majority of the Edinburgh Cor- 
poration dared to confer upon 
him the freedom of that city. 



148 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



Some pressure was probably 
required to screw their courage 
to the sticking -point. "A bit 
of paper signed Schnadhorst" 
was supposed, rightly or wrong- 
ly, to have infused the requisite 
quantity of hardihood. Well do 
we recollect Mr Parnell's arri- 
val in the Scottish metropolis. 
A few seedy carriages led the 
way, containing the scum of 
the Parliament House and the 
scum of the Town Council. 
The vehicle which contained 
the new burgess himself was 
followed by the scum of the 
Grassmarket and the Cowgate : 
a filthy rabble of his own com- 
patriots. The Lord Provost 
a man of character and probity 
declined to be present at the 
ceremony proper. Some meth- 
odistical bailie or other played 
the chief part on that shameful 
occasion. We are much mis- 
taken if certain notorious Free 
Kirk divines did not hallow the 
function with their presence. 
Two years had not elapsed ere 
the methodistical bailie and his 
Radical fellow-councillors were 
tumbling over one another in 
their haste to move that the 
name of Charles Stewart Par- 
nell should be expunged from 
the roll. 

The crash came in November 
1890. We need not record in de- 
tail what followed. Mr O'Brien 
has dealt very thoroughly with 
this part of his subject ; and it 
is unnecessary for us to do more 
than guarantee to the Unionist 
who " prees " the fare a banquet 
of the purest delight, of the 
most opulent enjoyment. Never 
have we retraced the particulars 
of any episode with more ex- 
quisite pleasure, with more solid 



satisfaction. The antics of the 
Nonconformist conscience wei$ 
in themselves the richest oi' 
treats. Murder, robbery, and 
false-witness might be ignored, 
condoned, or applauded j but a 
breach of the seventh com- 
mandment never ! The shuf- 
fling of Mr Gladstone was 
indescribably nimble : a perfect 
gymnastic exhibition in itself. 
He wrote that Mr Parnell's 
continuance in the leadership 
" would render my continuance 
of the leadership of the Lib- 
eral party, based as it has 
been mainly upon the presen- 
tation of the Irish cause, al- 
most a nullity"; and he flatly 
declined, when appealed to, to 
explain what on earth he meant 
by this wonderful sentence. 
There was also, apparently, a 
letter of his addressed to Mr 
McCarthy, but really intended 
for Mr Parnell's eye, which it 
never reached. We should like 
uncommonly to see its terms. 
Mr John Morley, too, was 
engaged in observing the pro- 
verbial jumping cat. He seems 
to have distrusted his ability to 
convince the public in Mr Par- 
nell's case of the soundness of 
those elegant excuses for adul- 
tery which he had advanced in 
the case of Diderot. Besides, 
Mr Parnell had once disrespect- 
fully referred to his principal 
English ally as a " Grand Old 
Spider." But the cream of the 
dish was indubitably supplied 
by Mr Parnell's parliamentary 
followers. They instantly took 
a firm tone. ".We'll teach these 
d d Nonconformists to miM 
their own business," blustered 
Mr Healy. They trooped over 
to Dublin, and with loud pro- 



1899.] 



The Rebel King. 



149 



testations swore eternal loyalty 
Jo their chief. The next thing 
they did was to desert him al- 
most to a man. What their 
motive was, we cannot alto- 
gether guess. Probably they felt 
that Mr Parnell's power was 
broken, and were minded to 
make a return for years of 
slavery and insult. Nor can 
we attempt to apportion among 
them the many various quali- 
ties which they collectively dis- 
played. Yet, perhaps, the palm 
may be justly awarded to Mr 
Dillon for lachrymose inca- 
pacity ; to Mr William O'Brien 
for neurotic fatuity ; and to Mr 
T. P. O'Connor for the prompt 
and unswerving determination 
to be on the winning side at 
all hazards. We cannot repress 
a feeling of admiration, and al- 
most of respect, when we think 
of this Parnell-Actgeon set upon 
by his pack of hounds, of this 
indomitable man wounded in 
the house of his friends. 

We do not profess to have 
laid any very startling or novel 
information before our readers. 
We are very sensible that in 
one point of view our 'words 
have been but " cauld kail het 
again," an old story retold. 
We have stated nothing Mr 
Parnell's biographer has stated 
nothing which was not al- 
ready matter either of certain 
knowledge or of legitimate in- 
ference for every intelligent and 
patriotic citizen. But our story 
will bear more than one telling, 
and there are two particular 
reasons which have induced us 
$ius to trespass upon the indul- 
gence of the public. In the 
first place, it is a striking, 
though by no means a surpris- 



ing, circumstance that what we 
may call the "stalwart" Con- 
servative or Unionist view of 
Mr Parnell has turned out to 
be the true one. We alleged 
that he was the inexorable 
enemy of England, and the 
proposition was hotly contra- 
dicted. No attempt can now 
be made to deny it. We main- 
tained that he pulled the strings 
of crime to suit his policy, and 
the contention was vehemently 
disputed. Its soundness can- 
not now be seriously questioned. 
We asserted that he aimed not 
at some glorified form of local 
self - government, but at the 
practical independence of Ire- 
land. No one would now think 
it worth his while to challenge 
so .well-worn a commonplace. 
The moral is, that Tories ought 
to have the courage of their 
opinions. In the second place, 
it is very desirable to prevent 
the Gladstonian Liberals from 
quietly forgetting certain dis- 
agreeable and inconvenient 
facts. At the present time, 
they are displaying an un- 
affected willingness to let the 
question of Home Rule sink 
into the background. But 
there is no knowing when it 
may come to the front again; 
and nothing will be more apt 
to confirm them in their reso- 
lutions of amendment than an 
occasional reminder of the bitter 
humiliations which an alliance 
with rebels and law- breakers 
has entailed upon them. No 
one can doubt that many Glad- 
stonians are genuinely patriotic 
at heart, and that they have 
little relish for the company of 
politicians who wish nothing 
but ill to this country. But 



150 



The Rebel King. 



[Jan. 



they succumbed to temptation 
in the past, and the only safe 
course for the future is to keep 
rubbing their noses (as the 
homely phrase has it) in the 
Parnellite juice. They may 
depend upon it that this nec- 
essary though painful opera- 
tion will ever be performed 
by their best friend, ' Maga,' 
with exemplary vigour and 
goodwill. 

The last year of Parnell's life 
was one of desperate and futile 
effort to retrieve his position. 
His health broke down ; he was 
tortured by the pangs of dis- 



appointment ; the cup of vic- 
tory had been dashed from hiss 
lips at the very instant at whicn" 
he was about to drain it. There 
was no rest or repose for him. 
From London to Ireland, from 
Ireland back again to London 
thus the ceaseless, weary 
round went on. Racked by 
disease, blighted in his foridest 
hopes, baffled in his most cher- 
ished designs, he perished, soli- 
tary, unpitied, and betrayed, 
like a wild beast in his den. 
Even so, and not otherwise, may 
they all perish who shall seek 
to compass the ruin and degra- 
dation of England ! 



1899.] 



The Looker-on. 



151 



THE LOOKER-ON. 



THE RADICAL SPLIT : HOW PLEASING TO OUR FRIENDS ABROAD THE SECRET OF 

SIR EDMUND MONSON'S SPEECH THE BETTER WAY WITH MR GLADSTONE'S 

BIOGRAPHY: TWO HARMONIOUS CONTRIBUTIONS THERETO BROWNING'S OWN 

STORY ABOUT MR DISRAELI. 



PREPARATION for Christmas 
festivities includes the sending 
of magazines to press before 
the usual time a disadvantage 
to writers therein, when great 
surprises may not have ex- 
hausted their developments. 
Yet there is nothing mysteri- 
ous in the withdrawal of Sir 
William Harcourt from the 
Liberal leadership in the House 
of Commons, nor should there 
be any more doubt of what is 
intended by it than of what 
occasioned it. But these are 
points that will be commonly 
agreed upon, I think, before 
' Maga ' makes her curtsey to 
the new year. 

Personal considerations can- 
not be kept out of party poli- 
tics, and never are kept out. 
Though the courteous assump- 
tion is that they have little 
to do with the politics of to- 
day, retrospect invariably dis- 
covers that they had much to 
do with the politics of yester- 
day. On the occasion of Sir 
William Harcourt 's retirement 
they were for once avowed, as 
the determining motive of a 
decision which must have large 
consequences. The avowal is 
made in Sir William's letter to 
Ar Morley, and in Mr Morley's 
hot reply ; and this is what it 
comes to. Sir William Har- 
court and Lord Rosebery cannot 



work together in the same Gov- 
erment ; and as often as not 
the blame for so unfortunate an 
incompatibility is thrown upon 
Sir William Harcourt, being ex- 
plained by the " personal pro- 
scription " demanded by his 
views, ambitions, antagonisms* 
But he repudiates the blame 
altogether, casting it upon Lord 
Rosebery ; and when the divided, 
discontented, enfeebled rank and 
file of Liberalism begin to think 
of ending so unpromising a state 
of things by definitely settling 
its leadership, Sir William de- 
clares that he " will not consent 
to be a candidate for any con- 
tested position " ; nor, further, 
" to lead a party rent by sec- 
tional disputes and personal in- 
terests." He resigns a " dis- 
puted leadership," and will 
henceforth do his duty to the 
Liberal party from an inde- 
pendent position in the House 
of Commons. Mr Morley agrees 
with and companions him. 

" Personal proscription " being 
the charge aimed from either 
side at the other, Lord Rosebery 
would have nothing to fear were 
evidence taken from the begin- 
ning of a long game of cross- 
purposes. It would then appear 
that years before Mr Gladstone 
resigned the Liberal leadership, 
his more powerful colleagues in 
the House of Commons had al- 



152 



The Looker-on : 



[Jan. 



ready decided against Lord 
Rosebery as his successor. All 
just means were to be taken to 
exclude him from the command 
of the party whenever the occa- 
sion might arise ; and that was 
a matter agreed upon. I dare- 
say it might be argued that 
personal proscription was not 
intended that the proscribers 
had none but political motives 
for their determination. Per- 
haps they thought him too mo- 
derate in his Radicalism some 
of them did, indeed ; while to 
all it was already known that 
he gave as much importance to 
the watchful conduct of foreign 
affairs as to legislation, and was 
deeply imbued with the con- 
tinuity - of - foreign - policy prin- 
ciple. How soon he was to be 
justified they could not foresee, 
and meanwhile these were Tory 
ideas, Tory principles, to them. 
Therefore, of course they were 
objectionable ; but that he was 
a member of the House of Lords 
was a stronger reason still. 
Concentration of ministerial 
authority in the House of Com- 
mons, and particularly the pres- 
ence there of the Prime Minister 
and the Foreign Secretary, were 
greatly desired by the Glad- 
stonian captains in that House. 
A peer might be Prime Minister, 
but on one condition only the 
figurehead or dummy condition. 
There was no likelihood, how- 
ever, that Lord Kosebery would 
consent to it, and that completed 
the case against him. He was 
to be excluded. 

His opponents may call that 
personal proscription ; but if so, 
what proscription more per- 
sonal, or less truly the dictate 
of lawful political differences, 
has been attempted against any 



of themselves ? It will be sur- 
prising, indeed, if anything wf 
the kind can be alleged, or ft' 
the one party can deny the influ- 
ence of personal ambition, the 
hope of personal advancement, 
more veraciously than the other. 

Probably because he was 
aware of the feeling against 
him, Lord Rosebery declined to 
take office on a certain occasion, 
and did so over and over again ; 
at length submitted to persua- 
sion ; did afterwards accept the 
post of Prime Minister; be- 
lieves, rightly or wrongly, that 
the feeling against him as a man 
in the wrong place amongst his 
colleagues was excessive ; and 
presently resigned the leader- 
ship altogether. From that 
hour there were two factions 
in the Liberal party on this 
same question of leadership 
a Rosebery faction and a Har- 
court faction ; and it happens 
that the whole drift of affairs 
since then has carried the Lib- 
eral party over toward the 
leader in exile, and away from 
the leader in office. The spirit 
which the one would call na- 
tional and the other would call 
jingo is not a thing of spontan- 
eous generation. It has been 
borne in upon the country from 
abroad we all know how. 
Liberals no more than other 
sorts of Englishmen can resist 
its appeal. Unwillingly (for 
what provokes it was quite 
out of their calculations) some 
of their leaders have given way 
to it. But Sir William Har- 
court' and Mr Morley will not; 
give way. 

To find sufficient reason for 
what they have done, therefore, 
it is enough to consider what 
their position in the House of 



1899.] 



The. Radical Split. 



153 



Commons would have been, next 
sc $sion, seated in the forefront 
of the Liberal party. They 
must have sat there dumb. 
Domestic legislation ? With 
his usual providence in such 
matters, Mr Chamberlain has 
looked to that, persuading his 
colleagues to force the Opposi- 
tion into acquiescent silence or 
else into grateful praise. Be- 
hold the programme. State 
aid to working men to buy 
their dwelling-houses; measure 
for local government in Scot- 
land ; a bill for London gov- 
ernment that will please all 
the parishes and trouble no- 
body out of them ; secondary 
education ; provision for the 
safety and health of persons 
engaged in dangerous trades, 
how much there is here for 
generous acceptance, and how 
little promise of anything to 
bite upon ! While as to the 
more pressing question of for- 
eign affairs, Sir William Har- 
court knows not what might 
happen to embarrass him yet 
more as Liberal leader, but does 
know of votes and things under 
which he would have to remain 
speechless, or else speak and give 
violent offence to the greater 
lumber of Liberals in the 
mntry. 

Resignation, therefore. In- 
lependence. Freedom to resist 
te spirit of imperialism, free- 
lorn to urge his own old views 
foreign policy, which are the 
[anchester views, and of course 
>rthodox where he sits in the 
[ouse of Commons. He pro- 
ibly believes, as others do, that 
^action against the detested im- 
jrial spirit is not far off, and, 
believing, looks for the grati- 
fication of heading it, speeding 



it, triumphing with it over the 
" faction " before which he now 
retires. Since he holds his 
Manchester creed sincerely, this 
is for him the most conscien- 
tious course, no doubt ; since, as 
he stands, he is a beaten man, 
he chooses the most lively and 
promising tactics open to him 
as a fighter; and inasmuch as 
he succeeds his conscience and 
his pride will rejoice together. 
How many eggs may go to the 
omelette is, of course, a question 
apart. Yet by how much, while 
he does his duty to his party in 
this way, he will exasperate 
the , " sectional disputes " and 
sharpen the " personal interests " 
which he complains of as dis- 
tracting and degrading it, should 
be considered; and also what 
likelihood there is that some of 
the stronger and worthier spirits 
amongst Liberal leading men 
may be driven by these dis- 
putes into a retirement more 
complete than his own. 

That alone would be a large 
price to pay for reconverting 
the country to Manchester prin- 
ciples in foreign policy, proved 
failures as they must be wher- 
ever they are tried. At present, 
however, the hopes of the reac- 
tionists seem to depend almost 
entirely on the Law of the 
Pendulum ; but they are not 
favoured by that alone. Most 
of the greater Continental Gov- 
ernments will be only too de- 
lighted to assist the efforts of 
any English party desirous of 
winning the country from all 
suspicion of the foreigner, and 
from these extravagant pre- 
parations of defence against 
enmity and rivalry. He, too, 
finds the suspicion objection- 
able, believes these excessive 



154 



The Looker-on : 



[Jan. 



armaments nothing but dan- 
ger, and deprecates the use of 
menacing naval squadrons in 
support of what should, he 
thinks, be a peaceful dip- 
lomacy. Brought to a check 
by our preparations of defence 
and a manifest readiness to put 
them in operation, the Con- 
tinental Governments really are 
much more amiable in their 
relations with this country than 
they were in the heyday of the 
Squeeze. But they are quite 
ready to be more so, to have a 
friendlier press, to abstain more 
obviously from adventures and 
designs for which, after all, 
money is running short, if by 
doing so they may accelerate 
the backward swing of the 
pendulum whereon Sir William 
Harcourt sits, like Cupid in a 
French clock. This, indeed, is 
the only right way of working 
the Squeeze the cheap and 
scientific way. You put on the 
pressure (Lord Salisbury knows 
the trick), and increase and in- 
crease it till you find that it 
will yield no more without 
danger of resistance. You 
then lift your hands, fold 
them, explain that your action 
has been entirely misinter- 
preted, and, to prove it, offer 
your most considerate friend- 
ship and co-operation. Why 
should we not be comrades ? 
you ask ; and still fold your 
hands and remain peaceable, 
awaiting your next opportunity. 
This is the present phase of the 
matter; and of course the cooler 
and most long-headed of our 
rivals abroad must have been 
delighted to read the corre- 
spondence between Sir William 
Harcourt and Mr Morley. Little 



could have been expected from 
the Czar's disarmament pro- 
posal, so much respected for i'ts 
intrinsic goodness, and so en- 
tirely shut out from considera- 
tion as a serious proposal. Bui 
it may help it may help ii 
England, now that, as we all 
understand, a regular campaign 
is to be opened, under redoubt- 
able generalship, against the 
pestilent imperialism which has 
planted England on the Nile 
and stopped the Squeeze. Very 
promising that, our good friends 
abroad "will think, and to be 
encouraged by every possible 
show of amicability and humble- 
mindedness. 



For days after the delivery 
of Sir Edmund Monson's speech 
at the banquet of the British 
Chamber of Commerce in Paris, 
it still remained a matter of 
wondering speculation. In it- 
self, what he had to say was 
not remarkable; but that it 
should be said by the British 
ambassador, in France and to 
France, seemed very strange 
indeed. Sir Edmund Monson 
is of the old school ; earnest in 
his profession, but deliberate, 
circumspect, punctilious ; a man 
unlikely to forget in any cir- 
cumstances that ambassadors 
are not sent by one country to 
another, but by one Govern- 
ment to another. The ambas- 
sador's business is solely with 
the rulers of the nation to 
which he is accredited ; and 
go past them in order to add] 
his " representations " and hi* 
intimations of reprisal to the 
people themselves is on th( 



1899.] The Secret of Sir Edmund Hanson's Speech. 



155 



face of it an improper thing 
to do. But yet it is an offence 
rith many degrees of blackness, 
id Sir Edmund Monson's de- 

mt into them was by one 
step only. 

He began his speech by de- 
claring a general dislike of the 
" new diplomacy," saying that it 
was "not without anxiety that 
he had decided to depart some- 
what from the traditional limits 
by which the diplomatist is 
hampered" in what he was 
about to say. Then followed 
an ingeniously slighting refer- 
ence to " the large increase, 
during November, in the corus- 
cation of eloquence which has 
been flashed upon appreciative 
audiences throughout the pro- 
vinces of our native land " ; a 
by -stroke at our noble selves, 
carefully meant to soothe 
French ears and smooth the 
way for what was to come. 
What 'was to come was the 
real purpose of the speech a 
double purpose, expressed in 
the following sentences, which 
are here put together with in- 
tent to bring out more distinctly 
what that same purpose was. 

" This outburst of British elo- 
quence," he said, "has been con- 
sidered in France to have been 
rather a display of fireworks, 
artificially designed and ex- 
ploded, than the natural pro- 
duct of an atmosphere highly 
and dangerously charged with 
electricity, the result of friction 
systematically and injudiciously 
applied." But nothing could 
bp more mistaken. Those au- 
tumn speeches and the com- 
ments thereupon may not have 
been entirely discreet, but " they 
served the useful purpose of 



impressing all the world with 
the conviction that the advisers 
of the Crown represented at 
that critical period the senti- 
ment of a united people." And 
"I hold that it is essential to 
leave no doubt in the minds of 
those with whom we have to 
deal as to the unanimity of 
Great Britain, and as to the 
depth of feeling which recent 
events provoked." That is an 
imperative duty ; and " while 
it is true that no other attitude 
could have been taken by the 
British Government, there has 
never been from the outset the 
slightest reason why doubt 
should have existed in any 
quarter of what that attitude 
should be." Therefore "I ven- 
ture to hope that by this time 
the idea of our being unduly 
squeezable and prone to make 
graceful but impolitic conces- 
sions has been thoroughly ex- 
ploded." He hopes so, does Sir 
Edmund Monson, and so pro- 
ceeds t6 a conclusion : 

"England, while jealously guard- 
ing her own interests, and steadfastly 
determined not to permit any en- 
croachment upon her rights, has no 
aggressive designs which need inspire 
anxiety in those who will deal honestly 
and justly with her. . . . We ask 
France to disabuse herself of all sus- 
picion of unfair intention on our part, 
and to meet us on every question at 
issue with an honest desire for equit- 
able arrangement, and with no after- 
thought towards scoring a diplomatic 
triumph or driving a one-sided bar- 
gain. ... I should like to think that 
the ideas I have so imperfectly ex- 
pressed may find acceptance with 
those who are directly or indirectly- 
responsible for the direction of the 
national policy. I would earnestly 
ask them to discountenance and re- 
frain from a continuation of that 
policy of pin -pricks which, while it 
can only procure an ephemeral grati- 



156 



The Looker-on : 



[Jan. 



fication to a short-lived Ministry, 
must inevitably perpetuate across the 
Channel an irritation which a high- 
spirited nation must eventually feel 
to be intolerable. I would entreat 
them " 

(It is here that the second pur- 
pose of the speech came out) 

" I would entreat them to resist the 
temptation to try to thwart British 
enterprise by petty manoeuvres such 
as I grieve to see suggested by the 
proposal to set up educational es- 
tablishments as rivals to our own in 
the newly conquered provinces of the 
Soudan. Such an ill-considered pro- 
vocation, to which I confidently trust 
no official countenance will be given, 
might well have the effect of con- 
verting that policy of forbearance 
from taking the full advantage of 
our recent victories and our present 
position which has been enunciated 
by our highest authority into the 
adoption of measures which, though 
they evidently find favour with no 
inconsiderable party in England, are 
not, I presume, the object at which 
French sentiment is aiming." 

Published at length next day, 
this carefully prepared speech 
had in both countries a great 
and the same effect, surprise. 
Its meaning? its object? The 
French found little difficulty in 
interpreting either its spirit or 
its intention : its spirit was the 
spirit of cold-blooded aggression; 
its purpose, to extort submis- 
sion from the fears of France, 
or (as alternative) to force on 
the war which is so likely to 
be the worse for England the 
longer it is put off. That was 
the French reading : in Eng- 
land we were more puzzled. 
The sincerity of the speaker's 
appeal for peace and fair deal- 
ing was obvious to us, if not to 
the French. Yet we could see 
that he had put himself out of 
order; one or two sentences in 



his speech seemed to most of us 
injudicious, though not wit IK -it 
defence ; and so grave and 
threatening a reference to M. 
Deloncle's school-plans for the 
Soudan was barely intelligible. 
Though we could not accept the 
French interpretations of a sur- 
prising departure from diplo- 
matic custom, we had no con- 
fident explanation of our own. 
All the while, however, it 
could be accounted for by a 
very simple though very trouble- 
some reason. It all arose from 
the inveterate difficulty of con- 
vincing the French Government 
that our Foreign Office really 
means to stand by its determina- 
tions. Whether unbelief on this 
point was more obdurate in 
Paris than at Petersburg or 
Pekin may be doubtful. Per- 
haps not. But though the un- 
happy prepossession must be 
giving way by this time, one 
would think, it was still the 
despair of our diplomats in the 
French capital when Sir Ed- 
mund Monson tried a new way 
of destroying it. Look again to 
the passages here gathered from 
his speech, and mark how closely 
they are addressed to one and 
the same end. The Fashoda 
affair had been settled, as if by- 
persuasion of England's inflexi- 
bility in that matter ; neverthe- 
less, it ' still remained an anx- 
ious duty to persuade France, 
or "those who are directly or 
indirectly responsible for the 
direction of the national policy," 
that the British Government is 
resolved to put an end to thjjjj 
idea of it as inimitably squeez- 
able. Naturally, it has been the 
business of Lord Salisbury in 
his intercourse with the French 




The Secret of Sir Edmund Hanson's Speech. 



157 



ambassador in London, of Sir 
Edmund Monson in converse 
with the French Government, 
to convey that resolution and 
establish it on a firm under- 
standing. We may be sure that 
neither the Foreign Secretary 
nor the ambassador has been 
slack in the attempt. Yet how 
imperfect their success may be 
judged from this speech of the 
ambassador's, without going 
further. What could excuse its 
irregularities if the represen- 
tations he enforced upon the 
French people had not been 
exhausted hopelessly upon the 
Government ? Only their mani- 
fest failure when addressed to 
the Government of the country 
could justify his turning with 
them so emphatically to the 
country itself. Even then, in 
such a case, they should be of 
the highest moment : but that 
they were. The settlement of 
the Fashoda affair counts for 
little in the reckoning which 
France and England must come 
to without further delay. The 
Bahr - el - Ghazal presents one 
troublesome question ; not less 
imperative is the Newfoundland 
question, which must be re- 
settled almost immediately. If, 
with these and other matters in 
dispute, they who are directly 
or indirectly responsible for the 
conduct of French affairs are 
still in the illusions lamented 
by Sir Edmund Monson, his 
appeal to France, which with 
less excuse would not fall short 
of impropriety, takes another 
shape, and becomes an obliga- 
tion. Yet of course it could not 
but be felt as a mortification by 
the French people, who even 
insist upon it as a mortification 



maliciously contrived. And in- 
deed we are deeply to blame in 
the matter; but our fault lies 
in permitting the growth of a 
belief that England's fighting 
days are over, not in warning 
the French nation, at a critical 
moment, that its Government is 
acting on the mistake perilously 
long. 

And there may be found the 
moral of the whole story. The 
Monson speech calls for record 
and remembrance as illustra- 
tive of the danger that lurks 
in the habit of giving in of 
giving in to wrongful claims 
and slighting injuries. The 
times change, but the conse- 
quences of that mistake are still 
what they ever were. And so 
we see an ambassador con- 
fronted by so rooted a doubt 
that his country will ever 
fight again, that he must needs 
slap the doubter's face to con- 
vince him of his error. 

The startlingly emphatic pas- 
sage in Sir Edmund's speech 
which relates to M. Deloncle 
and the Soudan schools has its 
own explanation. Lord Kitch- 
ener's proposal to establish a 
college at Khartoum forthwith 
had many recommendations. 
The most important are those 
which have all to do with 
tranquillising the Soudan and 
redeeming the people from 
their wildness ; but these the 
ordinary considerations are for- 
tified by others. In Egypt 
itself there is a good deal 
of French school-teaching ; the 
most useful language in Cairo, 
for example, when it is not the 
native Arabic, being French. 
This teaching and this second 



158 



language have been made a 
means of communicating to the 
native population the bitterest 
animosity that England is any- 
where subject to the hostility 
of the French in Egypt. The 
teaching is so used notoriously, 
and with great success, as M. 
Deloncle and the French Gov- 
ernment are of course aware. 
Therefore it should be no sur- 
prise if a wish to forestall simi- 
lar operations at Khartoum 
entered into Lord Kitchener's 
plans ; neither should it be 
any surprise that a French de- 
sign to undermine and counter- 
act them was instantly start- 
ed. Sir Edmund Monson was 
supposed to have made too 
much of the Deloncle scheme 
exaggerating its importance, 
making a great grievance of a 
trivial and fantastic suggestion. 
But it was not too trivial to 
miss the approval of the Gov- 
ernment, and with this ex- 
planation its significance will 
be better understood perhaps. 



Going one day, by favour, 
into the studio of the greatest 
painter in England would that 
we could say with a clear con- 
science the greatest of English 
painters I saw there a fine 
new canvas set up. Four feet 
long it was or thereabout, and 
more than two feet high larger, 
perhaps ; and all untouched ex- 
cept in a little space no broader 
than the painter's hand. But 
there in that small space was 
a most brilliant and perfect 
piece of work. It lay to the 
left of the canvas, at no great 
depth in the foreground, and 



The Looker-on : [Jan. 

was this : a golden dish, and in 
it a load of fruit figs, grapt$, 
peaches a splendid patch of 
ripe harmonious colour, with the 
finish of miniature painting ; the 
dish resting on a low pedestal 
of white marble, such as might 
buttress the foot of a marble 
stair. It was an astonishing 
thing to see amidst the grey 
expectant vacancy that sur- 
rounded it. And the wherefore ? 
the explanation of it? The 
look of expectancy that ran to- 
ward the picture-piece from all 
parts of the canvas would have 
given the answer to a man of 
imagination ; me the painter 
had to inform. The [purpose 
of that patch of colours, first 
painted in, was to govern the 
colour-composition of the whole 
picture. Everything, neighbour- 
ing or distant, was to be referred 
to it everything determined 
by it. 

It is a common practice, no 
doubt ; but I being quite ignor- 
ant felt much enlightened, and 
that on things far beyond the 
composition of pictures. Here 
was a helpful rule adjustable to 
other employments .than paint- 
ing, but even more to the 
conduct of life, the government 
of our endeavours, aspirations, 
even our affections. The re- 
semblance of the infant mind 
to a blank sheet of paper, so 
acceptable for its simplicity and 
so perfectly inept what mis- 
chief it has carried into nursery 
and school ! Try to replace it 
by the more true idea of pal- 
impsest, and you will not suc^ ( 
ceed. Try again with the idea 
of a fair fresh canvas, which 
you are to treat in Mr Tadema's 
way choosing the spot where 



)9.] The Better Way with Mr Gladstone's Biography. 159 



conscience lies, and painting in 
their own lovely colours the 
kindnesses, simplicities, veraci- 
ties, fidelities, that everything 
in life may be referred to them 
by the inner eye, and you will 
succeed ; for that is a more 
fascinating idea than writing 
on a blank sheet of paper, be- 
sides being much more scientific 
and promising. But isn't it an 
old way, the mother's way ? It 
is, I think. There is nothing 
new under the sun. 

It is in many ways service- 
able. At one of those moments 
when we think of twenty things 
in thinking of nothing, I even 
drew from it what seemed a 
useful suggestion for Mr Mor- 
ley, now employed in laying 
the foundations of Mr Glad- 
stone's best monument. (Cir- 
cumspice ? Ah, no !) But, we 
have said it there is nothing 
new ; and Mr Morley's mind is 
a mind that naturally grows 
every sort of useful suggestion 
in a business of this kind. He 
has all the bettermost at choice 
in his own garden. But what 
did occur to me was the job 
being a rather troublesome one 
that the painter's plan might 
be imitated to advantage by 
setting up a phrase which 
should stand ever in view 
from the first lifting of the 
pen. That is already done, 
sometimes, by careful and def- 
inite choice of a title a capital 
expedient in certain kinds of 
literature, but difficult in this. 
It is not easy to cast into the 
jjtle of a biography the author's 
^leal of what the book should 
be. Yet it can be done; and 
to show that it can be done, 
I may mention that I have my 



own idea for a Life of Mr Glad- 
stone, and believe it to be pre- 
cisely the right one. It is the 
most simple, the most recon- 
ciling, the most gracious, the 
one that, carried out in Mr 
Morley's perfect way, would 
satisfy most hearts and minds. 
And my title-page, with its 
guiding phrase, is ready for 
nailing to the desk. It goes 
thus : 

WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE: 

APOLOGIA PRO VITA EJUS. 

The keyword is recognisable at 
once apology ; the beauty of 
it for this purpose being that it 
has a double signification, which 
in one part or the other, or in 
both, should shine out from 
every page of a "life" of Mr 
Gladstone. To be the most ori- 
ginal, most agreeable, and im- 
proving of Gladstone biogra- 
phies, the warp of it should 
be true exposition, and the 
woof righteous excuse. There 
are fifty "lives" of Mr Glad- 
stone, but not one that does 
him the justice of simple, dis- 
criminating, uniform apology. 
Yet no other treatment is suited 
to his character and career, 
and no other will make out for 
him so fair a history. 

One of the most pleasant 
because faithful and yet kindly 
of the fifty memoirs of Mr 
Gladstone is that published the 
other day by Sir Edward 
Hamilton, who worked with 
him for years as his private 
secretary. And this little 
monograph unambitious, un- 
pretentious, and sincere has 
much of the apologetic char- 
acter, and on that account is of 



160 



The Looker-on : 



[Jan. 



far greater worth, than the 
" argle-bargle " Vindications of 
less judicious admirers. Some- 
times, indeed, Sir Edward 
deviates from judicial into mere 
friendly excuse, as when he 
says of Mr Gladstone : "It is 
true that his party fell to pieces 
more than once in his hands ; 
but every leader, however adroit 
he may be, has to reckon with 
causes beyond his control." 
Fell to pieces in his hands ? 
No, but in each case was 
broken to pieces by his hands; 
and never was his party in 
so many bits, or more hopeless 
of coming together again in an 
effective whole, than when Sir 
Edward Hamilton's book was 
written. " The evil that men 
do lives after them " in many 
a case growing to greater and 
greater heights when they are 
gone; and so it is that the 
ruin in which the Liberal party 
stands now resembles the ruin 
of a town ten years after the 
ravager has passed that way 
to dispeople and unroof it. 
This Sir Edward Hamilton 
must feel like other folk. Not 
often, however, does he excuse 
so badly as on this occasion : it 
is, indeed, his only considerable 
aberration from the straight 
path marked out for himself. 
Elsewhere he makes no secret 
of Mr Gladstone's faults. Feel- 
ing, no doubt, that acknow- 
ledgment of imperfections can 
be afforded, he brings them 
forth freely enough ; and only 
does what a declared friend 
is entitled to do in putting 
them in the kindliest light. 
"So I see them," he seems to 
say, " and so I "would have you 
view them ; but there they are, 



for as generous a judgment as 
can be accorded." 

And curious it is to mark, 
on turning to the lately pub- 
lished volumes *of Lord Sel- 
borne's ' Memorials,' how 
closely two very different, very 
intimate, observers agree upon 
the more distinguishing points 
of Mr Gladstone's character. 
The same discoveries are made 
by his friend who had to part 
from him as colleague, and by 
his friend who could abide by 
him as secretary there being 
no responsibility in that voca- 
tion. The only difference be- 
tween the two honest witnesses 
is that the secretary, being free 
to speak the truth in friendship 
and nothing else, does so; the 
Chancellor, a public man with 
a client in the public good, had 
to tell the truth under that 
obligation as well as the other, 
and was obedient to both. 

" He preferred misconstruc- 
tion to missing opportuni- 
ties of doing good," said Lord 
Selborne. Says Sir Edward 
Hamilton, "When once he had 
brought his resolution into har- 
mony with his conscience, he 
never paused to consider how 
far his action would be liable 
to be misunderstood." If after 
the word " conscience " Sir Ed- 
ward had added, "or his con- 
science into harmony with his 
resolution," agreement would be 
complete. "There was hardly 
anything of which he could 
not persuade himself," says 
Lord Selborne, "when the 
current of his thoughts ar-'l 
feelings set in a particular direl- 
tion." Something to the same 
effect peeps out in Sir Edward 
Hamilton's saying, that, " When 



1899.] The Better Way with Mr Gladstone's Biography. 161 



he had once made up his mind 
after due deliberation, he was 
convinced that he had made it 
up the right way," and no 
doubt on the subject ever after- 
wards found access to his mind. 
We read in Lord Selborne's 
portrait - sketch that " public 
opinion had the effect not of 
making him more circumspect 
but of stirring him up like a 
war-horse to battle. Of this 
there were many instances 
throughout his career, and as 
he grew older and more power- 
ful the habit became inveter- 
ate." Elsewhere, and in the 
less restrained language of 
intimate correspondence, Lord 
Selborne says, " It is impossible 
to describe the reckless (if it 
had been anybody else I should 
have said the unscrupulous and 
unprincipled) way in which 
Gladstone has carried on this, 
the Home Rule contest. The 
best word I can think of 
is plunging, in the sense in 
which I have known the word 
used by gamblers on the turf." 
Compare with these judgments 
the following passages in Sir 
Edward Hamilton's apologia : 
"If he had once convinced 
himself [or persuaded himself, 
as above] of the rectitude and 
justice of a particular course, 
his intrepidity knew no bounds. 
He became recklessly regardless 
of consequences," even when he 
foresaw the alienation of friends, 
disruption amongst his col- 
leagues and followers, and 
"the risk of banishing his 
party from office for years to 
come." And "when he was 
conscious that time with him 
was short, he was apt to be 
less scrupulous than he usually 
VOL. CLXV. NO. DCCCCXCIX. 



was about the means to which 
he had resort, if the particular 
end in view seemed to him to be 
thereby better promoted." 
- To descend again to smaller 
things, but yet most important 
in the case of a statesman so 
powerful and so reckless in 
action, Lord Selborne says of 
him that " he had no consistent 
or settled respect for law " ; 
though that, perhaps, is not a 
small thing. "He had a pro- 
pensity towards intellectual 
subtlety and casuistry which 
was apt to mislead him as to 
the proportion of things ; and 
he was not a good judge of the 
characters of men. He was too 
readily influenced by opinions 
which fell in with his own 
wishes or feelings, and by the 
men who held them." The sec- 
retary's testimony is that "he 
was endowed with a limited 
stock of what is commonly called 
knowledge of the world : was 
not gifted with intuitive percep- 
tion of individual character' 
(as it might be Mr Parnell's). 

" He was apt to be somewhat easily 
imposed upon and taken in. He un- 
duly appraised the worth of some 
men, and unduly depreciated the 
value of others ; this deficiency being 
in great part due to an almost child- 
like simplicity." " He was apt to see 
everything through one pair of spec- 
tacles the pair which he happened 
to be wearing at the moment. . . . 
Closely connected with his want of 
discrimination was his credulity and 
his inability to suspect mischief. His 
credulity was unbounded." 

Lord Selborne's account of 
Mr Gladstone's character has 
been cited amongst Gladston- 
ians as illiberal and unfriendly. 
No one can describe Sir Edward 
Hamilton as biassed against the 
L 



162 



man whom he served so faith- 
fully and affectionately ; and 
yet we might go on to other 
and equally striking resem- 
blances between their testi- 
mony as to Mr Gladstone's 
determining characteristics as 
statesman and minister. On 
nearly every point these wit- 
nesses say the same thing, 
though in the different lan- 
guage of their different po- 
sitions. Their praise, too, is 
alike ; wherefore all that re- 
mains for us to do is to speak 
the thought that has been 
gathering in the reader's mind 
as he followed their friendly 
analysis of Mr Gladstone's char- 
acter : it justifies the conclu- 
sions of those who deny that 
this great personage was a 
great statesman, or that he 
was much more than a vast 
disturbing and destructive force 
though a well-intentioned man. 
Lord Selborne's last word upon 
him was 

" The fascination of his conversation 
and personal character is sufficient to 
account for the fact that there are 
men well worthy of respect who fol- 
lowed his guidance with an implicit 
trust which asks no questions even 
beyond the border - line which, to 
minds constituted like my own, ap- 
pears to separate moral evil from 
good. I was too long under the 
master's spell not to have some fel- 
low-feeling with them, for I know 
how impossible it is not to admire 
and how very easy to love him." 

Yes. But so it becomes true, 
as we also read in Lord Sel- 
borne's pages, that the judg- 
ment of posterity on Mr Glad- 
stone may possibly agree with 
what Valerius Maximus says of 
Alcibiades : "It is hard to say 
whether his good qualities or 



The Looker-on : [Jan. 

his faults were the most per- 
nicious to his country ; for by 
the former he misled amd by the 
latter he brought calamities 
upon his fellow-citizens." 

It is not often that 'Memo- 
rials, Personal and Political,' 
published years after the close 
of a long life, bear so strong- 
ly upon current events as do 
those of the first Lord Sel- 
borne. Interesting historically, 
and of sterling worth as pro- 
ceeding from one of the sound- 
est, most scrupulous, and most 
lofty minds of the time, these 
volumes have an unexpected 
value in bringing light and 
counsel to the dubieties and 
troubles of to-day. The light 
is a reflected light, the sugges- 
tion accidental, the counsel in- 
direct ; but they often make 
themselves felt very forcibly, so 
that, whoever he may be, no 
one can read these pages with- 
out new and profitable thought 
upon the projects and "prob- 
lems " of the hour. For those 
who, for example, expect new 
heavens and a new earth from 
the principle of arbitration, 
study of Lord Selborne's chap- 
ters on the Alabama case (in 
which he was employed) is a 
duty a duty to themselves first 
of all. The same chapters fur- 
nish some extremely useful aids 
to reflection on the probabili- 
ties of the Anglo-American fu- 
ture. Lord Selborne's personal 
sketches are usually slight, but 
there are many of them, and all 
that may be spoken of with 
confidence are remarkably accu- 
rate and lifelike. 



1899.] 



Browning's own Story about Mr Disraeli. 



163 



In the 'Spectator' a few 'weeks 
there was a sharp contro- 
jrsy, in which Mr Disraeli's 

imorality, Mr Gladstone's 
lorality, humour, tolerance, Mr 
>wning's memory, or perhaps 
good faith, were all brought 
ito debate over a dinner-table 
story. The grand question was : 
Did Mr Browning tell a certain 
story about Mr Disraeli and Mr 
Gladstone in a certain way? 
He did, said Mr Lionel Tolle- 
mache, according to credible 
information to me imparted. 
Impossible, replied Canon 
MacColl (outraged, one per- 
ceives, by the word "devilish," 
fastened on Mr G.) Impos- 
sible, unless by some strange 
lapse of memory " Browning re- 
versed his own and Mr Glad- 
stone's parts respectively." 

Now, though Mr Browning 
is dead and Canon MacColl is 
alive, I'd as soon believe the 
Canon's memory the sinner; 
firstly, because I do not know 
why not, and secondly, because 
I myself happen to have heard 
Mr Browning tell this story, in 
circumstances and with partic- 
ulars that would make "rever- 
sal of parts " very remarkable 
indeed in so just a man. 

But what was the story, and 
what the circumstances of its 
relation in the hearing of a pre- 
sumably veracious and trust- 
worthy Looker-on ? 

At dinner in the house of one 
of Browning's dearest friends. 
Browning there, the sound and 
sincere mind going in him with 
the beat of a ship's chronome- 
ter. After dinner, the ladies of 
the party having left the table, 
conversation turns upon public 
affairs and public men. Mr 



Gladstone was then the most 
public of men ; and amongst 
other things said of him, it was 
said that whereas most things 
may be taken up by either of 
two handles the humorous 
and the solemn Mr Gladstone 
rarely saw the one and always 
seized the other. That was the 
sense of the remark. Mr Brown- 
ing assented, and by way of 
illustration, as he said, told the 
much - canvassed story as fol- 
lows : 

Mr Disraeli presided at a 
Royal Academy dinner whereat 
Browning was a guest. After 
dinner Mr Disraeli made the 
customary " speech of the even- 
ing," in the course of which he 
held forth in this wise : " When 
I look upon these walls, noth- 
ing strikes me more than the 
abounding invention, the copi- 
ous imagination, displayed in 
the works that adorn them." 
Browning thought that pretty 
good. " Twenty minutes after- 
wards," he went on to say, 
"we were on our legs and 
going about the rooms in the 
usual way to view these fine 
works. Presently, some one 
hooked his arm in mine from 
behind. It was Disraeli, who 
immediately said, ' When I look 
upon these walls, Mr Brown- 
ing, nothing strikes me more 
than the paucity of invention, 

the barrenness of fancy ' 

There!" 

From the laughter* that fol- 
lowed none of us taking up 
the tale by the solemn handle 
I fancy we must all have 
thought the story ended, as I 
myself did. But no: the pro- 
mised illustration was to come. 
"Now some time afterwards," 



164 



The Looker-on. 



[Jan. 1899. 



said Browning, proceeding as 
the singer; does whose song has 
been applauded too soon, "I 
told that story to Mr Glad- 
stone. As I went on I noticed 
that his face gradually dark- 
ened, and when I got to the end 
he said, 'Mr Browning, I call 
that hellish!" 

("Hellish," dear Canon, not 
your mere "devilish," on my 
word of honour. And I say 
that it is as good a Gladstonian 
word as ever bounded from the 
lips of the great Minister.) -.- 

Coming to a finish, Browning 
added that of course he had no 
idea of bringing out that sort" 
of remark, and his audience 
agreed that his illustration was 
very illustrative. 

As round a tale and as vrai- 
semblable as was ever told. 
But Canon MacColl declares 
that the precious second part of 
it is all wrong ; and in put- 



ting it right he takes out the 
verisimilitude and substituttr- 
the other thing. He was pres- 
ent when Mr Browning told the 
story to Mr Gladstone, and re- 
members all about it. It was 
not Mr Gladstone that spoke 
wicked words, but the poet 
himself: "greatest liar living," 
he said of Mr Disraeli. It " was 
Browning who was exceeding- 
ly indignant, and Mr jGlad- 
stone who was greatly amused " 
at such toying with terac- 
ity. "We all laughed except 
., Browning none more than 
Mr Gladstone," who f"was 
greatly tickled by Browning's 
vehenience." 

How strange ! How si range 
that the author .of "The Ring 
and the Book" should go ? about 
to faslen a particular weakness 
of his own upon one |>f his 
friends, as an illustration of 
character*! 






Printed by William Blackwood and Sons. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBUKGH MAGAZINE. 

No. M. FEBRUARY 1899. VOL. CLXV. 

OUR FATHERS. 

NOT "better than our Fathers," we 
Can wisely boast ourselves to be ; 
And evil may the scribbler speed 
Who vaunts the vaunt of Diomede ! 

Our Fathers! eighty years ago, 
From Princes Street amazed the Row. 
From his far castle upon Tweed 
The Great Magician came at need, 
And every woman, man, and child 
Was gladder when the Shirra smiled, 
Nay, every tyke about the place 
Took pleasure in the Shirra' s face ! 

He, too, was here, the Giant Child, 
Tender, magniloquent, and wild, 
Whose lure lay light on lochs and streams; 
Whose prose or weeps, or glooms, or gleams, 
As shower and shadow flit in turn 
O'er moor and tarn and benn and burn; 
VOL. CLXV. NO. M. M 



166 Our Fathers. [Feb. 

9 

Whose Crutch fell heavier than he knew 

On laurelled crest or Cockney crew, 

The mighty Christopher : beside him, 

He that "fules feared" whene'er they spied him, 



The Scorpion of the loyal heart, 
k/ Who saw youth, love, and friends depart, 

Bearing dark sorrows in his breast, 
Yet held his own and broke his jest, 
Crowned, as I deem, all men above, 
At once with Scott's and Carlyle's love ! 

With them The Shepherd: never plaid 
Of shepherd wrapped so strange a lad. 
Second alone was he to him 
Who turns all peasant glories dim. 
Oh kindly heart and random tongue! 
That erst of fair Kilmeny sung, 
And taught how dreadfully he died, 
The Sinner, Lost and Justified, 
And tuned to rhyme and told in prose 
The fortunes of the Fallen Rose, 

These were our Fathers : truly we 
Scarce better men may boast to be ! 

A. LANG. 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 167 



Noctes 

No. LXXII. 

XPH A'EN SYMIIOSIO KYAIKON HEPINISSOMENAON 
HAEA KOTIAAONTA KA0HMENON OINOHOTAZEIN. 

3. 

PHOC. ap. Ath. 

[This is a distich by wise old Phocylides, 
An ancient who wrote crabbed Greek in no silly days ; 
Meaning, "'Tis RIGHT FOR GOOD WINEBIBBING PEOPLE, 

NOT TO LET THE JUG PACE ROUND THE BOARD LIKE A CRIPPLE ; 
BUT GAILY TO CHAT WHILE DISCUSSING THEIR TIPPLE." 

An excellent rule of the hearty old cock 'tis 
And a very Jit motto to put to our Noctes.~\ 

C. N. ap. Ambr. 

? The Blue Parlour, Gabriel's Road, Elysium. Time Eight 
o'clock. Tea, coffee, and " the materials " on the table. 

NORTH. THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD. TICKLER. 
SHEPHERD. 

I'll thank ye, Mr North, to rax us ower the Scotsman whenever 
j're dune wi' it. 

NORTH. 

Take it, James ; take it. You'll not find much news in it to- 
" Tuberculosis and Milk," h'm, h'm. "The Crisis in the 
Whisky Trade," h'm, h'm. But have the London papers not 
oome in yet? 

SHEPHERD (politely). 
Alloo me, sir, if ye please. [Jumps up and pulls bell vigorously. 

Enter TAPPYTOORY with a large bundle of newspapers which 
he deposits on the table, and exit. 

NORTH. 

Here they are at last. Well, well, James, they may talk of the 
improvements of civilisation and the progress of the age, but I 
gravely doubt if Charon, Limited, be half as punctual as the old 
boy used to be before his conversion into a company. Of all the 

infernal 

SHEPHERD. 

Hooly an' fairly, Mr North, hooly an' fairly. Ye suldna use 
sic awfu' language. 

NORTH (rising solemnly and shaking his crutch for five 

minutes by the clock at the SHEPHERD). 

If I thought, James, that the pun was intentional, your pow 
and this stick would soon become better acquainted. 



168 Noctea Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. [Feb. 

SHEPHERD (with an air of innocence). 

Me mak' a pun, Mr North? H'ard onybody iver the like o' 
that! 

NORTH (resuming seat). 

Take warning, O presumptuous Shepherd, and let me continue. 
Where was I ? Ah ! those infernal companies. Since the pro- 
motion of the Glenmutchkin Railway there has been no such 
fever of speculation as in the last few years ; though I question 
if there is much which your modern promoter could have taught 
to Bob M'Corkindale and Augustus Reginald Dunshunner. 
They knew most of the moves on the board half a century ago ; 
for people forgot then as they forget now that, after all, what 
counts in a business is the personal element. Personal energy 
and personal interest are half the battle. Thank heaven, Picardy 
still keeps his tavern in his own hands. Confound your "man- 
aging directors," say I. Give me mine host, and let him strive 
by strict attention to business to merit a continuance of that 

esteemed patronage which 

SHEPHERD. 

A noble sentiment, sir, beautifully expressed. There's no' twa 
ways aboot it. As for me, I didna mak' verra muckle o' the 
fairming up-bye thonder, but gif I had been working no' for 
my ain gudewife an' bairns, but for a wheen ither fouk wha 
caredna twa straes aboot hillside or headrigg, plough or pasture, 
an' were aye jist wantin' " oot " theirsels at a primmium an' to 
lat in some ither buddy in their place think ye, Mr North, I 
wad hae wrocht my hardest? Think ye I wad hae risen airly 
an' lain doon late for the likes o' thon ? Na, na, sir ; deil the 
fears o't. 

NORTH. 

Conceive, James, of Maga as a company, limited ! 

SHEPHERD. 

Wi' Maister Weel'um "to jine the brodd after allotment"! 
Haw ! haw ! haw ! 

NORTH. 

Ha! ha! ha! ha! 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, an' aiblins sell'n a number owre the coonter for a bawbee 
doon an' a promise to pay nine-an-fifty man* instalments per 
mensem ! Ho ! ho ! 

NORTH. 

Not forgetting, James, a handsome bookcase, made of the 
same wood as this crutch, to hold the priceless treasure. Ha ! 
ha ! ha ! 

SHEPHERD. 

But there maun be a speecial byuck-case, a' studded wi' 
di'monds an' ither sorts o' jew'llery, to dae justice to the 
thoosan'th number. Ye'll no hae forgotten, sir, that it'll be 
oot in Feb'rwary? 



1899.] Noctes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 169 

NORTH. 

Forget, my dear Shepherd? As soon could a mother forget 
her child, or you Bonny Kilmeny. 

SHEPHERD. 
Or Mr' North the Isle o' Pawms. 

NORTH. 

And therefore, James, I propose to tip you a stave of my own 
composing in honour of the great occasion. Do you and Mr 
Tickler give me a hearty chorus. 

TICKLER. 
Hrmmph ! Wawawawrmmph ! 

SHEPHERD. 

Gude guide us, Mr North, but Southside's been reposin' in the 
airms o' Murphy for the last quarter o' an 'oor ! (Fortissimo.) 
Wake up, Mr Tickler, sir, an' gie's a haun' in the chorus to 
Mr North's braw new sang aboot Maga! 

TICKLER (waking up, rubbing eyes, yawning, &c.) 
Eh ? Bless me, what's the matter, gentlemen ? Ah-h-h ! 
A chorus, say you? By all means. 

[Clears throat, and pulls himself together. 

NORTH. 
Here goes then, gentlemen. 



MAGA: AN EXCELLENT NEW SONG. 



A thousand moons have waxed and waned, 

And fourscore years have rolled, 
Since Maga first o'er mortals reigned 

With Ebony the bold. 
An ill-starred day was that, I ween, 

For dunce, and knave, and fool ; 
What drivelling clique durst even squeak 

Beneath her righteous rule ? 

Chorus. 

Then fill me a bumper and push round the bowl ! 

For from forty-five George Street to far Wagga-wagga 
No quack or pretender from sternness shall bend her, 

Or roll the loud log with the sanction of Maga. 

II. 

She soon took up for Church and King 

Her parable with zest, 
And to th' unequal fight did bring 

Invective, reason, jest. 



170 Noctea Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

Confusion seize the caitiff wretch 

Who'd drag old England down ! 
North's vig'rous staff shall crack in half 

The thickness of his crown ! 

Chorus. 

Then fill me a bumper and push round the bowl ! 

For whene'er, with the mien and the tones of an Aga, 
She cries, Off with his head ! the poor creature drops dead : 

So mighty the power and dominion of Mag a ! 

III. 

Yet not too constantly or long 

Her thunderbolts she hurled, 
But deigned with tale, and skit, and song, 

To entertain the world. 
With pathos, humour, pungent wit 

She tinctured many a story ; 
And thus combined for all mankind 

The genius with the Tory. 

Chorus. 

Then fill me a bumper and push round the bowl ! 

For, whatever the virtues esteemed in a Saga, 
Every one, I'll be bound, may be readily found 

In the hundred and sixty-four volumes of Maga, 

IV. 

And now the mystic IVI appears 

Above old Geordie's phiz ; 
That symbol of the fleeting years 

Her inspiration is. 
Glorious the past she can recall ; 

But, if the omen's true, 
Her day's not o'er ; she has in store 

A glorious future too. 

Chorus. 

Then fill me a bumper and push round the bowl ! 

For, with more than the lightness and speed of the Quagga, 
She'll continue the race, set her rivals the pace, 

And show them a clean pair of heels, will our Maga ! 

OMNES. 
Hurrah ! Hurrah ! Hurrah ! 

SHEPHEED. 
Weel sung, laird. Man, ye warble like a lintie. But whatna 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. 171 

paper's this beside Mr Tickler in his cyooral-ooral chair ? Aha ! 
I jaloused as muckle. Mony's the time I ha'e tell't him that gin 
he behoved to read Leeterature he maun tak' the consequences. 
Here's the Daily Mail to ye, sir. That'll keep ye awake, I'se 
warrant. 

TICKLEB. 

Many thanks, many thanks. Yes, I confess I like to read my 
Mail. From its very birth it has fascinated me strangely. It 
could boast of the only good first number that ever paper had, and 
it has kept up its character bravely. Not but what it has its 
failings like the rest of us. A little apt to be too emphatic, to 
"force the note," as I believe they say nowadays; inclined at- 
tunes to make mountains out of molehills ; fond of assuming airs 
of self-importance, with no apparent justification. Its fiction is 
beneath contempt, and I long for a little more restraint and 
modesty, a little less cock-sureness and "actuality," if actuality 
means the relict of a Baker Street bazaar-keeper and the tittle- 
tattle of flunkeys and waiting-women. These, let us hope, are 
the vices of youth which time may be trusted to cure. 

SHEPHEKD. 

An' a' this for a single bawbee ! Preserve us, but Maister 
Harmsworth maun be a fair extraord'nar chiel ! Wha but him 
iver sell't a threepenny magazine for threepence-ha'penny ? 

NORTH. 

Not so bad, James ; a palpable enough hit. But Southside has 
spoken well and truly. The Daily Mail is a distinct acquisition 
to our stock of newspapers ; and to say that is to say much when 
you consider the variety and ability displayed in that composite 
body, the London daily press. There is the Standard, firm as of 
yore in the advocacy of sound principles, a pillar of strength 
to the Conservative party, and conducted with enterprise and 
courage. Then there is the Morning Post, aroused from lethargy 
and slumber to activity and life ; with a dash of the Churchill 
tradition in its politics, which discriminates it not unpleasantly 
from its younger rival. Once more, you have the Daily Tele- 
graph, that marvellously faithful mirror of the Cockney mind ; 
reflecting alike its excellences and defects, its hot and hasty 
impulses to fairplay as well as its shallow capacity for thought 
or principle. Not much pretence at leading the multitude, but 
a complacent willingness to follow. 

SHEPHERD. 

An' the public hangin' a' the mair, I'se warrant, on the yeditor's 
ivery word ! 

NORTH. 

No doubt, James, no doubt. But interrupt me not. If you 
be so far left to yourself as to be a Liberal, behold the Daily 
News, the candid and respectable, though occasionally acrimoni- 
ous, champion of that creed; while if Radical prepossessions 
bring you to the gates of Bedlam, you will find much to your 



172 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

taste in the hysterics of the Daily Chronicle. How cunningly 
it tickles the palate of the ambitious half-educated, and gratifies 
their vanity by doses of sham culture ! Plenty of manure, no 
doubt, as the old repartee has it, but a marked absence of cul- 
tivation. Some day who knows? the braying of its juvenile 
bigots will be moderated by the lessons of experience, and ability 
will no longer be obfuscated by fanaticism worthy of the Glasgow 
Gander. 

SHEPHEBD. 

It's plain to see, sir, that lapse o' time has no' muckle altered 
your opeenions ony w'y. 

NORTH. 

Heaven forbid ! James, that it should. Changed circumstances, 
it may be, have rendered necessary changes in detail. But 
Church and Queen (God bless her !) is still the old man's motto, 
and his staff is still vigorous to rap the meddling fingers and 
bemuddled pates of all who would tamper with our glorious 
constitution. What reign ever equalled her Majesty's in dura- 
tion and glory ? Take my word for it, not one of us guesses how 
much of the prosperity which our country, under Providence, has 
enjoyed is due to the Queen's sound judgment, unfailing sagacity, 
and strict sense of duty. Long may she rule over a loyal, 
virtuous, and contented people ! Come, a caulker in honour of 
the venerable toast. [All drink. 

TICKLER. 

In your enumeration of the London papers, sir, you were about, 
as I conjecture, to wind up with the greatest of all to wit, the 
Times. 

NORTH. 

Bight, Tickler; and where shall we find a journal like it? 
How much of the old prestige still justly clings to it ! I am 
told that an eminent statesman, recently arrived in these parts, 
disliked it heartily in his later years; which proves that there 
cannot have been much wrong with it. The Unionist cause 
stands heavily in its debt, and, joking apart, it is no small dis- 
tinction for a paper that its pages should be the recognised 
playground for the recreation of the most illustrious politicians 
in vacation. 

SHEPHERD. 

Haw ! haw ! haw ! 

NORTH. 
How, James ? You laugh ? 

SHEPHERD. 

The fac' is, Mr North, I couldna help thinkin' on yon chiel, 
the Peking correspondent. Man, he's a cliver lad that ! I mind 
fine, hardly a year syne, wheniver a cawbinet meenister made a 
bit speech aboot hoo English diplomacy had gained a graun' 
victory in Chiny, an' hoo the firrum an' unflinching awttitude 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 173 

o' the Government had left a line open port for huz to draw, the 
verra neist mornin', sure's fate, conies a tallagram frae the fallow 
tellin' hoo thae Rooshians had laid a gyard, an' hoo the British 
ambawssador wis clean nonplushed. An' he was richt ivery time, 
mind ye mair's the peety. 

NORTH. 

Whisht, whisht, James ; let that flee stick to the wall. He 
who goes to Rome should not quarrel with the Pope ; and Maga 
can afford to deal generously with the Government. Their 
hurdies are smarting yet, I'll be bound, from the castigations 
which she inflicted last year ; and besides, they have done much 
in recent months to rehabilitate the good name of British 
diplomacy and statesmanship. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ye was speakin', Mr North, aboot the Times an' the Unionist 
pairty; but can ye tell us the name o' ony paper has dune 
better wark for the great cause than the Scotsman? 

NORTH. 

Not I, assuredly. Where, indeed, would the right side have 
been in Scotland without its powerful assistance? And for 
well-selected, well-arranged, well-digested, and well-proportioned 
news, I know of no journal to match it, out of London ay, or in 
London. I never feel that I have gotten the intelligence of the 
day in proper focus till I have cast my eye over the Cockburn 
Street sheet. 

TICKLER. 

Times are changed indeed when Conservatives swear by the 
Scotsman. It is not so long since many an honest door was 
barred against it, not without cause ; and I own that in moments 
of depression I sigh for the poor old Courant, miracle of inepti- 
tude that it was. Ah ! If only Mr John had seen his way to 
take it up ! That would have been a memorable day for the 
Tory party. But even in its best period and when " Blood-and- 
brains " conducted it there were moments of great brilliancy it 
always somehow seemed to be a day late for the fair. The 
Scotsman, I am sorry to see, cleaves obstinately to some of its 
less happy traditions. Its controversial manner is the reverse of 
urbane, and it persists in cracking the dreary old jokes about 
ministers and Sabbatarians. Sandy Russel's wand was not 
meant for less mighty wizards to conjure with. I have some- 
times, indeed, thought that the difference in tone between the 
Scotsman and the Standard was no unfair index of the respective 
degrees of civilisation attained by Scotland and England. Yet, 
when all is said and done, those failings are not serious, and very 
little effort would cure them. 

NORTH. 

To be sure it would ; and remember to the paper's credit that 
it never condescends to those trivial personalities to which other 
journals I speak not merely of gutter-rags too frequently stoop. 



174 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

SHEPHERD. 

I ken fine what ye're at, Mr North ; parteed'ars o' my leddy 
Fowerstars' pairty, whaur the wine was " undeneeable," an' 
whaur the pawms cost as muckle siller's wad pit a West Indian 
colony, safe an' soun', upon its legs. Short wark wad I mak' 
o' thae infernal sugar bounties. But the maania for publeecity 
is somethin' awfu 1 , aneuch to turn a body's stamack. Leddy 
Fiddle - Faddle (set her up !) was obsairved last Monanday 
shopin' in Sloan Street, dentily attired in a smairt mawve 
tock an' an eelegant winsey creation o' Yoojeeny's ; or Lord 
" Tom " Noddy was perceived takin' a daun'er roond the 
Pawrk, faultlessly got up, as us'al; or Mistress High Flyer's 
bal masky, whilk included twa three Hebrew money-lenders 
an' a dizzen company-promoters at the verra least, was dis- 
tinguished by a "wise exclusiveness." An' the warst o't is, 
that Leddy Fiddle-Faddle, an' Lord Tom, an' Mistress High 
Flyer wad sit them doon on their hunkers an' mak a fine 
humdudgeon, an' mebbe even skirl for sheer vexation, gin their 
names wisna prented in the papers ; ay, an' they feed, an' 
pamper, an' wheedle, an' coax, an' do the ceevil to the 
pawrasites wha yearn a leevlihood puir misguidit deevils by 
writin' sic like trash. But gin a wheen lords an' leddies, no' 
preceesely o' the first fawshion, think nae shame to beg an' 
neech for adverteesements o' the sort, what say ye, Mr North, 
to the authors wha suld ken a hantle better ? Wae's me, wae's 
me for the dignity o' leeterature ! It's pawragraphs here, an' 
pawragraphs there; whiles a bit interview, an' whiles a bit 
denner ; wi' oor gude freen' Mr Wamble wame, the " guest o' the 
evenin'," an' hoo he has brocht the true flevvour o' the shambles to 
mony a twitching nostril ; or the health o' Miss Claw-the-midden, 
gentlemen, an' may she lang be sparit to probb the beilin' sores o' 
humanity to the verra roots. 

NORTH. 

Yet we must suppose that there is a public eager to hear of such 
matters, or else they would never be dished up so regularly as they 
are. A queer beast the public, as Mr John used to say ; and who 
can tell what it will fancy for its next meal ? Why, a daily paper 
is said to have added fifty thousand to its circulation, by what ? 

TICKLER. 

A set of papers by Mr Kipling, sir ? 

SHEPHERD. 

An exposhy o' an obvious impostor ? 

NORTH. 

Wrong, gentlemen, though your guesses were ingenious. No ; 
by taking a vote of its Radical readers on the Opposition leader- 
ship and the Opposition programme. 

SHEPHERD. 

What's this they ca't again ? I ken it's an unco kittle word 
to pronounce. 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance. No. LXXIL 175 

NOETH. 

Ay, a plebiscite. 

SHEPHERD. 

An' the prize for the wunner o' the competeetion is a bank-bill 
for a hunder poun's. 

NOETH. 

Correct, James ; I observe you read your newspaper diligently 
enough. But is it not lamentable to see a once great political 
party reduced to the condition of the Gladstonians ; torn by in- 
ternal dissension, distracted by personal intrigue, and equally 
destitute of men and measures? 

TICKLEE. 

Say, rather, that it would be pitiable were it not that they 
deserve no better fate. When they sold themselves to the Irish 
gang, they lost all title to the sympathy of honest and right- 
thinking men. The Pope's brass band was a collection of 
honourable gentlemen compared with Mr Parnell's kerns and 
gallowglasses ; and the Gladstonians have no right to complain 
if they caught more than they bargained for from such singular 
allies. I grant that, as a rule, a strong Opposition is a blessing 
to the country ; but I have no desire to see a party which is 
solemnly pledged to a policy of dismemberment materially 
strengthened. Could anything be more significant of their 
total want of principle than the eagerness of many among them 
to throw Home Rule overboard, because Home Kule has been 
found not to pay? 

NOETH. 

Very true, my dear Tickler ; but I believe you will agree with 
me that the want of a strong Opposition constitutes a serious 
danger for the party in power. The majority becomes careless, 
loses spirit, tends to break up into groups, becomes less coherent 
and energetic than it ought to be. 

SHEPHEED. 

A wee thing lowse in the glue, sir, as Mr John or his worthy 
freen', auld Tom, micht say. 

NOETH. 

An appropriate metaphor indeed, James, for the Elysian fields. 
But, as I was saying, not only does the majority become flabby 
in the face of a weak and discredited Opposition, but the Govern- 
ment takes to playing tricks which it dare not venture upon 
when the enemy is well organised and vigilant. Look, for 
example, at the Vaccination Bill a measure intensely repugnant 
to the bulk of Conservative and rational sentiment. Was ever 
so gratuitous a concession made to a parcel of ignorant and 
offensive maniacs ? And all for the sake of keeping or winning 
a few seats which could easily have been spared ! 

SHEPHEED. 

I wad like fine, Mr North, to hear your defeneetion o' a " con- 
scientious " objector. Ma conscience ! Gin the Shepherd had his 



176 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. [Feb. 

wull o' them there wadna be mony sic cattle stravaguing aboot 
the kintraside disheminating their abominable diseases. 

NORTH. 

I own I have no more conception of the meaning of the word 
in that connection than of the meaning of a "conscientious" 
objector to the multiplication-table. I cannot, however, absolve 
the medical profession of all blame in the matter, and I am sure 
our dear Delta would be with me there. Had they uttered a 
louder and more certain sound, I believe the House of Lords at 
least might have treated the bill as it deserved. But apart 
altogether from the merits of the question, the measure was 
objectionable, because it encouraged the belief that Ministers were 
squeezable by any noisy and obstreperous clique of nuisances. 
When will politicians learn that the country values firmness in 
its rulers more than any other quality, and that to know your 
own mind pays best in the long-run? 

TICKLER. 

There is another danger for the party in the present condition 
of the Liberals, and that is that we may be lulled into a false 
sense of security. In every Conservative newspaper I read con- 
fident predictions that the other side is doomed to be out for the 
next twenty years. Such talk is rank nonsense. 

SHEPHERD. 

Jist havers. 

NORTH. 

Moonshine, pure and undiluted. Rein acu tetigisti, most 
sagacious Southside. 

SHEPHERD. 

Whisht, Mr North ; for ony sake keep awa' frae the Lait'n, or 
I doot Maister Bir'l, Q.C., '11 be sair displeased. Div ye no' ken 
'at he's sworn to tak oot a decreet interdicting, prohibiting, 
an' discharging the first man wha daurs to intromit wi' the 
Delectus ? 

TICKLER. 

You, my dear North, and you too, my dear James, are well 
aware how ill-founded any such confidence on the part of the 
Unionists must be. When the Whigs came back from the 
country in 1832 with the largest majority of the century, it 
looked as though they were good for a fifty years' spell of office. 
The Tories, on the other hand, were numerically feeble, and had 
not recovered that confidence in their leader which he had 
already betrayed once and was destined to betray again. Yet 
the process of disintegration in the Ministerial ranks went on 

so fast 

SHEPHERD. 

Wi' Hairy Brumm aye ready to gie't a helpin' haun' frae 

within 

TICKLER. 

That in less than three years the Whigs were out for a few 



1899.] Noctes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 177 

months, and in 1841 Sir Kobert Peel returned to power with 
the handsome majority which he wantonly dissipated five years 
later. To-day the pendulum swings quicker. Three months 
one month one week may so alter the complexion of affairs 
that the Ministry of the day, instead of basking in the sunshine 
of public favour, is battered with the winds and rains of unpopu- 
larity. No one can foresee what a year may bring forth, and 
the prospects of any Government are less dependent upon its 
conduct viewed as a whole than upon the events which happen 
immediately to precede the natural termination of the Parliament. 

NORTH. 

A most timely word of warning, my dear Tickler, which I 
trust all Unionists will take to heart. Yet we who have seen so 
much may perhaps contemplate the near future of the country at 
all events with tolerable equanimity. Common-sense political 
views are now unquestionably held by large classes in the com- 
munity who were formerly steeped in ignorance and prejudice. 
There are few localities, I am told, in which a Unionist speaker 
who knows his business will not meet with a civil and attentive, 
if not a sympathetic, hearing. Even in Scotland it is not re- 
garded (except by old-fashioned or very youthful Radicals) as a 
conclusive argument to call your opponent a " Tory " and " boo " 
him. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, conspewy the Tories, as the Monseers wad say, was the 
auld Radical watchword. Ye mind yon awfu' tale about " Burke 
Sir Walter " ? The Scorpion tells it in his great byuck wi' mair 
even than his us'al impressiveness an' dignity. Sic things are 
barely possible noo. We'se hope sae, ony w'y. An' surely we 
canna be owre gratefu' to the brave men wha, wi' Maga to 
encourage an' inspire, kept aye batterin' awa' in the dark an' 
dreary days at the dense mass o' poleetical supersteetion. 
Thankless wark it seemed to try an' stem the tide. Mistress 
Pairtington wi' her besom had an easier job a'maist than the 
gallant band wha but the Duke was at their heid ? that 
manfully led a forlorn-hope in auchteen hunder an' auchty. 

NORTH. 

Your metaphors are mixed, James, but your sense is admirable. 

SHEPHERD. 

Toots ! wha cares gin the metaphors are a wee confizzed or 
no' ? Weel, to proceed, the flames o' bigotry an' prejudice 

reached their hicht 

NORTH. 

Yet another metaphor! 

SHEPHERD. 

Hoot fie, Mr North, it's no' like you to interrupt. Here's a 
caulker to ye, to drink the Duke's health in. [Mixes three 
caulkers, one of which he hands to TICKLER, another to NORTH, 
while he engulphs the third himself at one draught.] Aweel, to 



178 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. [Feb. 

reshoom. Maitters culdna 'been waur than in the first Mid- 
Lothian campaign, when "auld Wullie " played on the vanity an' 
weaknesses o' the mob like a fiddler on his enstrument. But 
things hae mended steadily sin syne. When Glesca sends five 
Unionist members oot o' seeven to Parliament, ye canna weel 
doot that a better day has dawned for sound prenciples an' 
generous pawtriotism. An' I'se warrant I needna tell ye that 
the Shepherd wis a prood man when he hard that the coonty o' 
Roxburgh was represented in the twinty-saxt Parliament o' the 
United Kingdom by the Yearl o' Dalkeith, the Duke's son an' 
a fine lad he is, sae they tell me. May the Shepherd's tongue 
cleave to the roof o' his mooth, an' his right hand loss il 
running, when he forgets the benefits shoo'red upon him by the 
hoose an' faim'ly o' Buccleuch a hoose that has aye shown 
the haill o' Scotland a true example o' public speerit, private 
virtue, an' true nobeelity ! 

NORTH. 

Spoken like a leal and true man, James. Would that Sir 
Walter had been present to hear you ; but Gurney shall send him 
& certified extract from your speech. To return to our Liberal 
mutton, it is an evil thing for a party when it voluntarily 
pursues a course which robs it of the support of a nobleman like 
Lord Stair. And they are even in worse case now than they 
were twelve years since. For does it not occur to you, Tickler, 
that in all their squabbling something of more moment is in- 
volved than mere personal differences though these are acute 
enough in all conscience? 

TICKLER. 

You mean a serious difference in political opinion ? 

NORTH. 

Certainly. I regard the breaking out of Sir William Harcourt 
Mr John Morley as the dying wriggle of the bad old Liberal 
view of foreign policy, which has gradually been displaced by the 
Imperial instinct. Evil notions die hard, and doubtless there 
.are many hardened sinners in the Radical clanjamfrey who are 
genuinely attached to the policy of cowardice and scuttle, and 
who think our surrender to the Boers after Majuba Hill a 
master-stroke. See how eager they are to-day to slander and 
revile our troops, and to believe the very. worst of their own 
countrymen ! Now, such gentry will not resign their opinions 
without a struggle, and for many years to come they may be 
strong enough to make their influence felt in the party. But, 
heaven be praised ! their day of triumph is over, and the spirit 
of the age will be too strong for them. I give Lord Rosebery 
infinite credit for diffusing the new spirit among his followers, 
and for supporting the Government so heartily against France ; 
but I cannot forget that the one man to whom the revival of 
patriotic sentiment is primarily due was Lord Beaconsfield. We 
all Jingoes now, thanks to him. 



L899.] Nodes Ambrosiance. No. LXXIL 179 

TICKLER AND SHEPHERD. 

Hear, hear, hear ! 

NORTH. 

No man saw deeper into the future than he ; none so abounded 
in fertile ideas. He would ever have had England bear in mind 
her glorious past, and let the recollection animate her conduct in 
the present. 

SHEPHERD. 

He aye lippened to "the shooblime instinc's o' an awncieiit 
people." 

NORTH. 

That he did, James. And what thoughtful man but must feel 
that his Eastern policy was the sound one, had he been able to 
carry it out ? As it was, he snatched from Russia the fruits of 
her victory, and gave us "peace with honour." Think again how 
he brought the Indian troops to Malta. We all remember how, 
when told there was no precedent for such a course, he calmly 
replied, "So much the worse for precedent." That master-stroke 
for the first time awoke the average man to the conception of 
the greatness and oneness of the Empire. 

TICKLER. 

And the Colonies, sir, what of them ? Is any Briton so infatu- 
ated as to propose to cut the painter and set them adrift ? 

SHEPHERD. 

Na, na, sir ; gif ony yin propozzes that, he suld be cavied in an 
assylum for the rest o's days wi's brither lunattics. 

TICKLER. 

It is good to think how the ties which unite us to our colonies 
are ever being drawn closer. This Imperial Penny Postage 
what does it not mean for those whose sons or brothers are fight- 
ing the battle of life in Canada, or Australia, or the East Indies, 
or the West? But come, as Mr North has obliged, I'll e'en 
follow his good example and tune up. The words are from the 
pen of our friend Neil Munro, whose John Splendid, excellent 

it is, marks but the beginning, I am sure, of a great career. 



TO EXILES. 

Are you not weary in your distant places, 

Far far from Scotland of the mist and storm, 
In stagnant airs, the sun-smite on your faces, 

The days so long and warm? 
When all around you lie the strange fields sleeping, 

The ghastly woods where no dear memories roam, 
Do not your sad hearts over seas come leaping, 

To the highlands and the lowlands of your Home? 



180 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

Wild cries the Winter, loud through all our valleys 

The midnights roar, the grey noons echo back ; 
About the scalloped coasts the eager galleys 

Beat for kind harbours from horizons black ; 
We tread the miry roads, the rain-drenched heather, 

We are the men, we battle, we endure ! 
God's pity for you, exiles, in your weather 

Of swooning winds, calm seas, and skies demure ! 

Wild cries the Winter, and we walk song-haunted 

Over the hills and by the thundering falls, 
Or where the dirge of a brave past is chaunted 

In dolorous dusks by immemorial walls. 
Though hails may beat us and the great mists blind us, 

And lightning rend the pine-tree on the hill, 
Yet are we strong, yet shall the morning find us 

Children of tempest all unshaken still. 

We wander -where the little grey towns cluster 

Deep in the hills or selvedging the sea, 
By farm-lands lone, by woods where wildfowl muster 

To shelter from the day's inclemency ; 
And night will come, and then far through the darkling 

A light will shine out in the sounding glen, 
And it will mind us of some fond eye's sparkling, 

And we'll be happy then. 

Let torrents pour, then, let the great winds rally, 

Snow-silence fall or lightning blast the pine, 
That light of Home shines warmly in the valley, 

And, exiled son of Scotland, it is thine. 
Far have you wandered over seas of longing, 

And now you drowse, and now you well may weep, 
When all the recollections come a-thronging, 

Of this rude country where your fathers sleep. 

They sleep, but still the hearth is warmly glowing 

While the wild Winter blusters round their land ; 
That light of Home, the wind so bitter blowing 

Look, look and listen, do you understand? 
Love strength and tempest oh come back and share them! 

Here is the cottage, here the open door ; 
We have the hearts although we do not bare them, 

They're yours, and you are ours for evermore. 

NORTH. 
Bravo ! Bravo ! 

SHEPHERD. 
Brawvo ! Brawvo ! There's an eerie sough aboot thae lines, a 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 181 

kin' o' quate melancholy, that a'maist gars the Shepherd greet. 
It's true there's no' muckle luve lost at ween an Ettrick man an' 
a Hielander. For ma pairt, I prefer ma ain breeks to the phila- 
beg o' the proodest chief wha struts an' majors it north o' the 
Grampians. An' yet Donal' has his gude p'ints, an' aiblins a 
sort o' genie, whiles, that even huz borderers canna pretend to 
gin he wadna yatter about "Celtic renashences" an' sic like 
nonsense. I hae aye thocht that ye catch the speerit o' the 
Gael in its maist teepical manifestawtion in Neil Munro's stories. 
But, no' to be beat, I'se gie ye an answer frae the Nor' -West o' 
Cawnada. Mistress Moira O'Neill wrote the words, an' bonny 
words they are. 



THE NORTH-WEST CANADA. 

Oh would ye hear, and would ye hear 
Of the windy, wide North- West? 

Faith ! 'tis a land as green as the sea, 

That rolls as far and rolls as free, 

With drifts of flowers, so many there be, 
Where the cattle roam and rest. 

Oh could ye see, and could ye see 

The great gold skies so clear, 

The rivers that race through the pine-shade dark, 
The mountainous snows that take no mark, 
Sun-lit and high on the Rockies stark, 

So far they seem as near. 

Then could ye feel, and could ye feel 

How fresh is a Western night ! 
When the long land-breezes rise and pass 
And sigh in the rustling prairie grass, 
When the dark blue skies are clear as glass, 

And the same old stars are bright. 

But could ye know, and for ever know 

The word of the young North- West ! 
A word she breathes to the true and bold, 
A word misknown to the false and cold, 
A word that never was spoken or sold, 
But the one that knows is blest. 

* 

NORTH. 

Most excellent, James. 

TICKLER. 
Well spouted, Shepherd ! Your health ! 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. N 



182 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

NORTH. 

I am satisfied of this, at all events, that no statesman will 
henceforth command the confidence of the nation unless he is in 
sympathy with those wider and loftier aspirations which have 
ousted the miserable, pettifogging, penny-wise-and-pound-foolish 
ideals of a bagman like Cobden. Accordingly I prophesy (and 
mark my words, sumphs twain that ye be) that Sir William 
will have ample time for many years to come to write letters 
on the Church question and excellent letters many of them are, 
too and that Mr Morley will not be distracted by the duties 
of office from the biography of his leader. They will thus both 
be able to bestow upon mankind the benefit of the great gifts 
hitherto squandered upon party. 

SHEPHERD. 

Aweel, aweel it's a rale pleesure to see that a taste for 
leeterature still survives amongst politeecians. There's Lord 

Rosebery has written a Life o' Pitt 

NORTH. 

And Sir George Trevelyan a history of the American Rev- 
olution 

SHEPHERD. 

Him that wrote a life o' yon chiel Macaulay? 'Od, sirs, but 
Maister Paget gied Tom his paiks brawly ! 

NORTH. 

Indeed he did, James. Macaulay did worthier work since the 
days when we discussed his early reviews of better men, but I 
think we have made up our minds touching the value of his 
judgment of evidence, 'whatever we allow to his power of lan- 
guage. We were speaking, however, of politicians and a taste 
for literature. It is noticeable that public speeches have not 
the classical flavour they had once. 

SHEPHERD. 

But wha kens gin they haena gained in business-intelligence 
an' common-sense? 

NORTH. 

Wha kens, indeed, as you say, James ? For my part, I think 
it more than doubtful. However, Mr Gladstone was almost the 
last statesman of eminence to quote Latin in public ultimus 
Romanorum, we must grant, in that at least. But Lord 
Rosebery habitually gives a turn of literary cultivation to his 
speeches. 

TICKLER. 

And Mr Chamberlain 

NORTH (hastily). 

Mr Chamberlain deserves great credit for finding time in a 
busy life to read at all. 

SHEPHERD. 

An' think ye, sir, that the taste for leeterature has declined 
or advanced in the kintra at lairge? 



1899.] Noctea Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 183 

NORTH. 

Let us distinguish. There is, of course, a far larger number of 
people who read newspapers and books of a kind. Unhappily 
their course of reading is not only not a course of literature, but 
one which, if persisted in for any length of time, makes the study 
of literature an impossibility. Certainly there is a popular taste 
for chatter about books. 

[TICKLER takes up the Daily Chronicle, folds it so as to 
leave the third page outward, and hands it silently to 
NORTH. NORTH looks at it for a few seconds, sighs 
deeply, and hands it to the SHEPHERD. The SHEPHERD 
in turn looks at it in silence, opens his mouth as if to 
speak, shuts his mouth, and rolling the paper into a ball 
throws it into the fireplace. 

NORTH (resuming painfully). 

There is a large, a very large, number of people, many of them 
in other ways respectable citizens 

SHEPHERD. 

Wha tak' pleesure in yon bletherin' 

NORTH. 

Who are unable, I was going to say, James, to distinguish 
between knowledge and ignorance. With them to know a sub- 
ject, or to have read a superficial article on a subject, is the same 
thing. They are the prey of such writing as our friend Tickler 
has shown us, with which I am by this time sadly familiar. 
But let us be just : that newspaper page is sometimes partly 
filled by writers who know their subjects; it is not entirely 
devoted to the solemn and ridiculous eulogy of a little band of 
third-rate versifiers and novelists. 

TICKLER. 

But when you speak, North, of a popular taste for literature, 
may we not question if such a taste can ever exist ? Literature 
is an art to appreciate which a man must enjoy such qualities 
of mind and heart as are necessarily denied to the generality of 
mankind. It is seldom that, on his real merits, a great writer 
is appreciated by the world at large. 

SHEPHERD. 

Verra true, Mr Tickler, verra true. The poetry o' James 

H gg 

NORTH. 

Well, well, James, the sun does not shine every day. But 
we must not judge of present-day readers altogether by present- 
day writers. Granted that intelligence and good taste do not 
necessarily increase with superficial education, still I have reason 
to believe that in the body of well-educated men and women 
professional men and commercial men with leisure and a taste for 
real reading there is as much relish for literature as ever there 
was : it is not all swamped by contemporary novels and causeries 
and books about books. And if these men of finer clay are 



184 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

neglected by contemporary books and journals, who knows if 
that fact is not a gain, leaving them the more time for old 
books wisely chosen? 

SHEPHEED. 
For the hunder best books ? 

TICKLER. 

Replenish, James, and listen. I was about to ask Christopher 
if he is seriously of opinion that these worthier folk are neglected 
by contemporary writers ; if, in other words, contemporary litera- 
ture has not its fair share of serious and excellent work ? 

NORTH (after a pause, speaking solemnly). 
Yes, Southside, that is my opinion. 

SHEPHERD. 

And mine's. 

TICKLER. 
And mine. 

[They sigh, and drink a glass of toddy in silence. 

SHEPHERD. 
An' whaur, think ye, lies the reason, sir ? 

NORTH. 

Chiefly in what is, I believe, a great boast of the period 
the spread of education. In itself this may be an excellent 

thing 

TICKLER. 
Pooh! 

NORTH. 

an excellent thing, or let us say that it will be so some day, 

when it is more wisely directed. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, that'll be when the deil's blind, but his een's no' sair yet. 

NORTH. 

Yet it has the disadvantage of almost annihilating literature. 
For a multitude of readers 

TICKLER. 

Mostly fools. 

SHEPHERD. 

That's no' oreeginal, Mr Tickler, as ye weel ken, but Tammas 
Carlyle's. A gran' man that, though ower dour to my thinkin'. 
He gae mony a hard knock, an' he didna aye mind when it was 
wise to stay his haun'. Noo a wise man gies hard knocks 
whiles, an' whiles jist keeps his cudgel in his nieve, an' lauchs 
to see the fules, puir bodies, cut their capers. Tammas forgot 
that they too are God's creturs, as muckle's him or me. But 
Mr Tickler interrupts ye, sir. 

NORTH. 

A multitude of readers, James, begets a multitude of writers, 
and in the din and clamour of these the still small voice of the 
Man of Letters is likely to be drowned, or else he is tempted to 
change its note and shout with the multitude for his greater 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. 185 

profit. This does not apply to the greatest, who stand apart, 
as they always have stood and will stand; but many a lesser 
man, who in happier circumstances might have played tunes 
that even we would have praised, is led astray to grind out 
the common airs of the market. 

SHEPHERD. 

Licht, randy, freevolous kin' o' tunes, I trow. 

NORTH. 

No, James on the contrary. If you will consider your most 
recent observations you will perceive that the tunes are all re- 
markably dull and dismal. The majority of the popular writers 
of these times are engaged in probing with neither experience 
of life nor knowledge of books to guide them the mysteries of 
human unhappiness. This is more particularly the case, as you 
have forcibly hinted, with the female writers. 

SHEPHERD. 

Gude guide us ! That women, wha suld be the source o' a' 
the blitheness an' sweetness o' existence, suld spend their time 
their spring-time, ower aften, puir things in pokin' aboot the 
dirty dubs o' camsteeriness an' deprawvity ! 

TICKLER. 

Pooh ! They only follow the lead of the men they are imita- 
tive beings. When the lead is changed to gaiety and fun, they 
will follow. 

SHEPHERD. 

I'm thinking it'll be at a distance. The humour o' women 
an' they hae muckle gin ye've the gumption to perceive it is 
for life an' the play o' conversation : they dinna ken or ony 
w'y, verra few o' them kens hoo to create the circumstances for 
it an' pit it on paper. Susan Ferrier was ane o' the few. 'Od, 
but yon was a wumman wi' the ee o' a hawk for the redeek'lus. 
But hoo wad ye define the characteristics o' contemporary leetera- 
ture, Mr North or rather o' fiction, since that seems to be baith 
beginnin' an' the end o't a' ? 

NORTH. 

Outwardly, bustle without energy. Inwardly, the conceit of 
itrospection. 

TICKLER. 
Imperfect, but a very tolerable definition, North. 

SHEPHERD. 

It's a hantle better than ony you culd mak yoursel', Mr 
Tickler. But here comes ane wha can define by the yaird. 
Guid e'en to ye, Mr De Quinshy. 

[Enter the ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. He salutes the com- 
pany and sits down. 

Ye've come in the nick o' time, sir, to gie's your opeenion o' 
contemporary fiction. 

[ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER looks at SHEPHERD in silence, 
then taking a small box from his pocket swallows a pill. 



186 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL [Feb. 

ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

You will excuse me, my dear Mr Hogg, that I have allowed 
myself to take a slight precaution before answering your question. 
The subject you mention is one which has the power, or rather, I 
should say, the invariable quality, of depressing my spirits to an 
almost intolerable depth ; and unless I counteract that effect by 
a small, or infinitesimal, dose of this preparation of the poppy, 
which I keep about me when I am likely to be a participator in 
literary conversation, I am apt to be reduced to a condition in 
which I am driven to contemplate suicide a contemplation 
equally perverse and in our present condition of being happily or 
unhappily for I would not be understood to pass a hasty com- 
ment on our advantages and disadvantages ineffective. 

SHEPHERD. 

Man, ye talk brawly aboot naething ; but I was speirin' your 
opeenion o' contemporary fiction. 

ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

True, Mr Hogg, and I was about to impart it to you, unworthy, 
of your attention as it may be. My opinion, in short, is that the 
sufferings I may go so far as to say the tortures of contenv 
porary fiction are to be accounted for, or explained by, what I 
will venture to call the superlatively dismal dictum or suggestion 
that fiction ought to be an exact copy of life. I regard the man 
who first propounded this melancholy counsel to have been the 
author of more widely spread dulness, the annihilator of more 
gaiety and relaxation, than any man who ever lived. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, a dull dowg he maun hae been. 

TICKLER. 
Unfortunately it was Shakespeare. 

SHEPHERD. 

Na, na, Mr Tickler, ye're no' to mak' fules o' Mr De Quinshy 
an' me : ye're no' to f aither it on Weel'um. 

TICKLER. 

" To hold the mirror up to Nature " 

NORTH. 

No, Southside ; that was the advice to. the players, meant 
merely to correct their extravagance. A decent mirror, more- 
over, does not show to a wholesome eye every spot and wrinkle 
on a human face unless it looks too close. The modern realism is 
to art what the modern photography is to painting : it shows 
many needless details, while it misses the air, the character, the 
inner fire and purpose, of a man or of life. Art selects and dis- 
tinguishes, and even for the sake of truth it is necessary to ex- 
aggerate here and to ignore there that the whole may be fair. 
Realism in the false contemporary sense is an impossible ideal, 
and were it possible it would be undesirable. But we must not 



1899.] Woctes Ambrosiance.No. LXXIL 187 

forget, Mr De Quincey, that there has been a reaction against it, 
and that once more romance nourishes. 

[ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER takes another pill. 

SHEPHERD. 

Mr North, ye suldna hae gar'd him dae that : he'll hae nae 
appeteet for his supper. 

ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

I had forgotten that I had previously fortified myself, Mr 
Hogg ; but indeed the taking of an opium pill is an automatic 
action with me when I hear the mention of contemporary so- 
called romance. I hardly know which kind of it is the most 
tedious and irritating the romance which is concerned with 
other ages, while it is full of sentiments and attitudes to life 
which are entirely characteristic of this age ; the romance which 
takes for its hero an ordinary young man of this period and sets 
him in surroundings impossible and incredible ; or the romance 
which is merely a record of unnecessary and disgusting slaughter. 

TICKLER. 

But a moment since, Mr De Quincey, you complained of the 
idea that fiction should copy life : now you are condemning these 
romances because they do not fulfil that condition. 

NORTH. 

By your leave, Southside, there is no contradiction. Fiction 
may or should represent life with more clearly defined issues 
and with fewer ugly and irrelevant blemishes than it has, but it 
must not picture obvious impossibilities. The introduction of a 
writer's own sentiments among the actions of a previous age is 
always a dangerous practice, and those authors who rely on a 
superficial knowledge of history together with an intimate know- 
ledge of the requirements of their more foolish contemporaries 
in the way of sentiment and " situations " as I believe the word 
is for the accomplishment of plausible imitations of Sir Walter 
and his French successor Dumas, are unlikely to achieve a suc- 
cess other than commercial. My objection is that they neglect 
their own times, or at least the ordinary habits and manners 
of their own times, so completely. It is noticeable that Sir 
Walter Scott made his greatest novels out of his, or at least 
out of times within the memory of men then living. 

SHEPHERD. 

Hech, sirs, but that's a sad accoont o' maitters. Can ye no' 
mind ony exception? 

NORTH.- 

Yes, James, and a great one. Mr Meredith sees the romance 
of the life round him as well as its problems and its oppositions 
of character. Witness Harry Richmond, as stirring and manifold 
a romance as there has been in English since Sir Walter died. 

SHEPHERD. 
I maun e'en confess it, sir ; I canna un'erstaun' the fallow ava'. 



188 Nodes Ambro&iance.No. LXXII. [Feb. 

NORTH. 

You should try, James: it would come with habit. Mr 
Meredith has said that to live now, romance must be reinforced 
by intellectual interest. And as the world grows older in thought 
and knowledge that is very possibly true. 

SHEPHERD. 

An' hadna the novelles o' oor time intellec' ? 

NORTH. 

They had, James, and so had those of a later period now past 
the novels of Dickens and of Thackeray. That is a fact which 
the critics of this day seem to doubt. 

SHEPHERD. 

The sumphs ! Thackeray wi'out an intellec' ! 

NORTH. 

They forget, my dear Shepherd, that to be present a thing does 
not need to be naked. For example, behind Thackeray's often 
trivial incidents and trivial talk there is a reserve of intellectual 
power which the wise man feels a power incomparably greater, 
even as it is more modestly employed, than that of nine-tenths of 
the more noisily intellectual writers, English or French, whom 
these critics admire. But touching this revival of romance, Mr 
De Quincey, do you think the taste is genuine and will last? 
ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

Not, my dear sir, if we may judge by the transference of 
romance to the stage. I have lately witnessed the performance 
of several versions of Dumas' ' Three Musketeers,' and if we may 
suppose, as I think that without want of charity we may, that 
the literary tastes of the players are representative rather of the 
majority than the minority of their fellow-countrymen, then it is 
significant that these players, with very few exceptions indeed, do 
not seem to have an atom, a breath, a scintilla of romance in 
their compositions. 

SHEPHERD. 

The stage! Div ye gang aften to the playhouse, sir? For 
my pairt I hae been waur shockit at thir modern fawrces than 
I was thon time I saw the opera in the thirties. 

TICKLER. 

Pooh! 

SHEPHERD. 

I ken fine, Mr Tickler, that ye wad be weel pleased aneuch, 
ye auld sinner that ye are, at thae fawrces an' " musical comedies." 
But what say ye, sir ? 

NORTH. 

I confess, James, that I am parcus cultor et infrequens of the 
modern playhouse. It seems to me that the managers, being 
aware that ideas are few, use a careful economy in them, so that 
when a play of one sort is successful, ten theatres will immediately 
fit themselves with plays exactly like it. As for example, " The 
Three Musketeers." One of these days, by some strange conjunc- 



1899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. 189 

tion of accidents, an intelligent play will be produced, and then, 
alas ! for the playgoing public, it will be a black day if none 
but intelligent plays are to be produced for a twelvemonth. 

ENGLISH OPIUM-EATEK. 

The public will be as a lost sheep, seeking for the shepherd of 
sentiment and the watch-dog of coincidence. 

SHEPHERD. 

O man! It'll no hae far to gang. But I'm weary o' the 
stage. What think ye o' modern poetry, Mr De Quinshy? 

[ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER fingers his pill-box, but finally re- 
places it in his pocket. 

ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

A great poet died but lately, Mr Hogg 

NORTH. 

A very great poet. The name of Tennyson will be revered so 
long as the memory of English literature endures. But what 
would Alfred have been but for the sage counsel of " crusty Chris- 
topher " ? The discipline was painful to the young poet at the 
time, but he was wise enough to profit by it. His note of patriot- 
ism, I am glad to think, has been well caught up by Mr Kipling. 
ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

A wonderfully vigorous and versatile writer, sir; but we still 
have one great poet of the older generation. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ye mean Mr Swinburne ? He's a wee thing ower luscious for 
ma taste. 

ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 
Mine he pleases to perfection. 

NORTH. 

A vice of most of the others, as of their brothers the novelists, 
is introspection and the possession by vague and ill-understood 

ideas. For example, there's Mr Davidson 

SHEPHERD. 

A Scotsman speak weel o'm 

NORTH. 

Mr Davidson can write pretty songs that might almost have 
m made by you, James. But he must needs expound theories 
id philosophies, and so he comes to grief. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ken ye, sir, that in Glesca, o' a' places, they hae a Ballant 
lub, an' the maist feck o' the members writes verra tolerable 
Oor freen', Mr Neil Munro, he's ane o' them. 

NORTH. 

Is it even so? I am heartily glad to hear it. Ingenuas 
didicisse feliciter artes, and so forth. But I wish the Odontist 
had been spared to belong to the club you speak of. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, puir auld Pultusky wad hae been blythe to jine sic an 
association. 



190 Nodes Ambrosiance. JVb. LXXII. [Feb. 

TICKLEB. 

But is there no one, Mr North, among the moderns who 
deserves to be praised? 

NORTH. 

There are many, my dear Timothy to be praised gently and 
quietly. And one great fact, at least, is a light in the semi- 
obscurity of letters to-day. Speaking entirely without prejudice 
to you, who will listen with an equal absence of it, I merely 
mention to you the fact that Maga still nourishes. 

SHEPHERD. 

Verra true. An' huz, wha helped to guide her airly days, can 
weel afford to gie their due to the men 'at cam' efter. But gin 
we're to recapeetulate the doings o' Maga's heroes, we maunna 
forget w'er noble sel's to start wi'. 

NORTH. 

Not much likelihood of that, my dear Shepherd. And we 
will remember too with reverent and affectionate feelings John 
Lockhart perhaps a greater than any in this room, not ex- 
cepting Mr De Quincey and yourself. But is it not singular 
how there has never been wanting a race of men to serve Maga ? 
We had our day we, Maginn, Gait, Delta, and the rest ; a brave 
and merry one it was. But when we vanished from the scene, 
others came on to fill our places. Uno avulso non deficit alter. 

SHEPHERD. 

O man, man, can ye no' keep clear o' the Lait'n? But, for 
a' that, it's a clear case, as ye hae said, Mr North. There 
was George Cheape, an' Lytton, an' Aytoun, wha wis a verra 

tower o' strength 

NORTH. 

And George Moir, and Laurence Oliphant, and Neaves 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, sir, his Lordship wis a fell chiel at the versifeein'. 

TICKLER. 

And Gleig, the Hamleys, Chesney, and Laurence Loci 
"the nephew of his uncle," and Mrs Oliphant. 

SHEPHERD. 

Mistress Oliphant ! Ah, sirs, yon wis a gran' wumman, a fine 
writer, an' a stench freen' o' the hoose o' Blackwood. Her 
awnnals o' the firm's a fair maisterpiece. No' that I wis a'the- 
gither satisfeed wi' her accoont o' James Hogg. But death 
clears a' scores, an' sin' we forgathered on this side o' the 
Styx, mony a pleesant hoor hae I passed in her company, an' 
mony's the time I hae thocht hoo muckle better oor Scots 
writers o' novelles an' romances micht dae gin they wad con- 
deshend to tak' a gude few leaves oot o' her byuck. I canna 
thole their deealec'. Whaur wull ye fin' vulgawrity to pawrallel 
theirs? Their tongue's no' the gude auld Scots, but the tongue 
o' wabsters, an' tinklers, an' ither gang-there-out bodies, con- 
tawminated by contac' wi' ivery specie o' trash. Hae ye seen 



jkhart, 



L899.] Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. 191 

[aister Henderson's volumm on Scottish Vernacular Leetera- 
ire, sir? 

NORTH. 

I have, James, and a more admirable work it would be difficult 
to imagine. Such a happy combination of taste and learning is 
not too common nowadays. There are plenty of pedants on the 
one hand, like Mr Furnivall, and plenty of dilettanti on the other, 
like Mr Gosse; but not many who possess both learning and 
discrimination. 

SHEPHERD. 

Is yon the Maister Gosse or Guse wha ance preshoomed to 
speak o' "Mary Ferrier"? Haw! haw! haw! 

NORTH. 

Yes ; and he has committed a thousand other gross blunders 
for which a schoolboy would be scourged. But though the 
second generation of Blackwoodians has all but passed away, 

there has arisen a not wholly unworthy third. There are 

SHEPHERD. 

Haud yer haun', Mr North. We'se no win hame till the morn's 
morn gin ye rin through the roll o' Maga's leevin' contreebutors. 
What says the knock ? Surely it maun be time for a bit chack 
o' supper. 

[The clock strikes eleven. Enter on the very stroke Mr 
AMBROSE, with the Board, Mons. CADET, King PEPIN, 
Sir DAVID GAM, TAPPYTOORY, and the PECH, with all 
the delicacies of the season. 

Mr Awmrose, ye're a sicht for sair e'en. Noo for the eisters! 
Man, but they're fine an' sappy. 

[ There is comparative silence in the Blue Parlour for three- 
quarters of an hour, while NORTH, SHEPHERD, and 
TICKLER devote themselves to the business of the even- 
ing. The ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER toys absent-mindedly 
with a rizzared haddie. 

NORTH. 
What say you, James, to another caulker ? 

SHEPHERD. 

Wi' a' my he'rt an' sowl, sir. That Glenlivet's as gude an r 
lellow as iver touched a wizen. But, bless me, Mr De Quinshy, 
loo's this? Ye mak' nae supper; ye're no' eatin' yer meat. 
"Tae a piece turkey, sir? It's deleecious. Or a wee bit guse? 
Tae guse? Then alloo me to recommend a drap aipple-sass. 
[t's extr'ord'nar' fine flevvoured. 

THE ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER. 

I think, Mr Hogg, I should uncommonly like to try an oyster, 
'Tis a delicacy which the ancients prized very highly. 

SHEPHERD. 

Man, it's a peety but what ye didna mak' yer mind up shuner, 
for they're a' clean gane. I feenished the last twa dizzen mysel'. 
Ay ; ance show baudrons the road to the kirn an' ye may 



192 Nodes Ambrosiance.No. LXXII. [Feb. 

whustle for the cream. But tak' a dram, Mr De Quinshy, -a' 
the same. I see fine by the blink o's e'e that Mr North has a 
toast to gie's. Pit awa' thae peels, an' sook the whuskey doon. 
Mr Tickler an' me'll oxter ye hame gif needs be. 

NORTH. 

Mr De Quincey, the Shepherd is right. I have a toast in my 
mind to which I earnestly crave the attention of the whole com- 
pany. The night goes on apace, and it will soon be time for us 
to separate. 

SHEPHERD. 

Ay, Mr Tickler's unco sleepry, an' Mr De Quinshy's aye 
pittin' his haun' ower the moo' that poors oot sic a wunnerfu' 
blatter o' words. 

NORTH. 

We must not disperse, gentlemen, without drinking the toast of 
Maga. Her history is a glorious one. Long may she flourish, 
and may she ever be true to her old traditions ! 

OMNES. 

To Maga ! Maga for ever ! No heeltaps ! Huzza ! Huzza ! 
Huzza ! 

[All drink a bumper. GURNET steals out from the ear 
of Dionysius, surreptitiously drinks the toast, and slips 
back again. Cheers from behind the door, where PlCARDY 
and his tail are dutifully assembled. 

SHEPHERD. 

Aweel, a' gude things maun hae an end. We hae had a 
glorious crack, gentlemen, an' I think the least we can dae is 
to send this Noctes to the Yeditor, auld Ebony's oe. Gude 
send he disna pit it intil the Balaam-box ! But he'll surely no' 
daur hanle the likes o' huz wi' sae muckle inciveelity. Gude 
nicht to ye, Mr North. Ye'll be for Moray Place? Gude 
nicht, Mr Tickler; gude nicht, Mr De Quinshy. 

OMNES. 

Good night ! good night ! gude nicht ! 

[Exeunt omnes, and sic transeunt Noctes. 



.899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



193 



THE HEART OF DARKNESS. 1 



BY JOSEPH CONRAD. 




THE " Nellie," a cruising yawl, 
swung to her anchor without a 
flutter of the sails, and was at 
rest. The flood had made, the 
wind was nearly calm, and 
being bound down the river, 
the only thing for us was to 
come to and wait for the turn 
of the tide. 

The sea-reach of the Thames 
stretched before us like the 
beginning of an interminable 
waterway. In the offing the 
sea and the sky were welded to- 
ther without a joint, and in 
e luminous space the tanned 
ils of the barges drifting up 
ith the tide seemed to stand 
ill in red clusters of canvas 
arply peaked, with gleams 
varnished sprits. A haze 
ted on the low shores that 
ran out to sea in vanishing 
flatness. The air was dark 
above Gravesend, and farther 
back still seemed condensed 
into a mournful gloom, brood- 
ing motionless over the biggest, 
and the greatest, town on 
earth. 

The Director of Companies 
was our captain and our host. 
We four affectionately watched 
his back as he stood in the 
bows looking to seaward. On 
the whole river there was noth- 
ing that looked half so nautical. 
He resembled a pilot, which to 
a seaman is trustworthiness 
personified. It was difficult to 
realise his work was not out 



there in the luminous estuary, 
but behind him, within the 
brooding gloom. 

Between us there was, as I 
have already said somewhere, 
the bond of the sea. Besides 
holding our hearts together 
through long periods of separ- 
ation, it had the effect of 
making us tolerant of each 
other's yarns and even con- 
victions. The Lawyer the 
best of old fellows had, be- 
cause of his many years and 
many virtues, the only cushion 
on deck, and was lying on the 
only rug. The Accountant had 
brought out already a box of 
dominoes, and was toying archi- 
tecturally with the bones. Mar- 
low sat cross-legged right aft, 
leaning against the mizzen- 
mast. He had sunken cheeks, 
a yellow complexion, a straight 
back, an ascetic aspect, and, 
with his arms dropped, the 
palms of hands outwards, re- 
sembled an idol. The Direc- 
tor, satisfied the anchor had 
good hold, made his way aft 
and sat down amongst us. We 
exchanged a few words lazily. 
Afterwards there was silence 
on board the yacht. For some 
reason or other we did not 
begin that game of dominoes. 
We felt meditative, and fit for 
nothing but placid staring. 
The day was ending in a 
serenity that had a still and 
exquisite brilliance. The water 



Copyright, 1899, by S. S. M'Clure Co., in the United States of America. 



194 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



shone pacifically ; the sky, with- 
out a speck, was a benign im- 
mensity of unstained light ; the 
very mist on the Essex marshes 
was like a gauzy and radiant 
fabric, hung from the wooded 
rises inland, and draping the 
low shores in diaphanous folds. 
Only the gloom to the west, 
brooding over the upper reaches, 
became more sombre every min- 
ute, as if angered by the ap- 
proach of the sun. 

And at last, in its curved and 
imperceptible fall, the sun sank 
low, and from glowing white 
changed to a dull red without 
rays and without heat, as if 
about to go out suddenly, 
stricken to death by the touch 
of that gloom brooding over a 
crowd of men. 

Forthwith a change came 
over the waters, and the seren- 
ity became less brilliant but 
more profound. The old river 
in its broad reach rested un- 
ruffled at the decline of day, 
after ages of good service done 
to the race that peopled its 
banks, spread out in the tran- 
quil dignity of a waterway lead- 
ing to the uttermost ends of the 
earth. We looked at the vener- 
able stream not in the vivid 
flush of a short day that comes 
and departs for ever, but in 
the pacific yet august light of 
abiding memories. And in- 
deed nothing is easier for a 
man who has, as the phrase 
goes, "followed the sea" with 
reverence and affection, than to 
evoke the great spirit of the 
past upon the lower reaches of 
the Thames. The tidal current 
runs to and fro in its unceasing 
service, crowded with memories 
of men and ships it had borne 
to the rest of home or to the 



battles of the sea. It had 
known and served all the men 
of whom the nation is proud, 
from Sir Francis Drake to Sir 
John Franklin, knights all, 
titled and untitled the great 
knights - errant of the sea. It 
had borne all the ships whose 
names are like jewels flashing 
in the night of time, from the 
" Golden Hind " returning with 
her round flanks full of treasure, 
to be visited by the Queen's 
Highness and thus pass out of 
the gigantic tale, to the "Ere- 
bus " and " Terror," bound on 
other conquests and that never 
returned. It had known the 
ships and the men. They sailed 
from Deptford, from Greenwich, 
from Erith, the adventurers 
and the settlers; kings' ships 
and the ships of men on 
'Change ; captains, admirals, the 
dark " interlopers " of the East- 
ern trade, and the commissioned 
" generals " of East India fleets. 
Hunters for gold or pursuers of 
fame, they all had gone out on 
that stream, bearing the sword, 
and often the torch, messen- 
gers of the might within the 
land, bearers of a spark from 
the sacred fire. What great- 
ness had not floated on the ebb 
of that river into the mystery 
of an unknown earth? the 
dreams of men, the seed of com- 
monwealths, the germs of em- 
pires. 

The sun set ; the dusk fell on 
the stream, and lights began to 
appear along the shore. The 
Chapman lighthouse, a three- 
legged thing erect on a mud- 
flat, shone strongly. Lights of 
ships moved in the fairway a 
great stir of lights going up and 
going down. And farther west 
on the upper reaches the place 



1899. 



The Heart of Darkness. 



195 



of the monstrous town was still 
marked ominously on the sky, 
a brooding gloom in sunshine, a 
lurid glare under the stars. 

"And this also," said Mar- 
low suddenly, " has been one 
of the dark places of the 
earth." 

He was the only man of us 
who still "followed the sea." 
The worst that could be said of 
him was that he did not repre- 
sent his class. He was a seaman, 
but he was a wanderer too, 
while most seamen lead, if one 
may so express it, a sedentary 
life. Their minds are of the 
stay-at-home order, and their 
home is always with them the 
ship ; and so is their country 
the sea. One ship is very much 
like another, and the sea is al- 
ways the same. In the immuta- 
bility of their surroundings the 
foreign shores, the foreign faces, 
the changing immensity of life, 
glide past, veiled not by a sense 
of mystery but by a slightly 
disdainful ignorance; for there 
is nothing mysterious to a sea- 
man unless it be the sea itself, 
which is the mistress of his 
existence and as inscrutable as 
Destiny. For the rest, after his 
hours of work a casual stroll or 
a casual spree on shore suffices 
to unfold for him the secret of a 
whole continent, and generally 
he finds the secret not worth 
knowing. The yarns of seamen 
have a direct simplicity, the 
whole meaning of which lies 
within the shell of a cracked 
nut. But Marlow was not 
typical (if his propensity to spin 
yarns be excepted), and to him 
the meaning of an episode was 
not inside like a kernel but out- 
side, enveloping the tale which 
brought it out only as a glow 



brings out a haze, in the like- 
ness of one of these misty halos 
that sometimes are made visible 
by the spectral illumination of 
moonshine. 

His uncalled-for remark did 
not seem at all surprising. It 
was just like Marlow. It was 
accepted in silence. No one 
took the trouble to grunt even ; 
and presently he said, very 
slow, 

" I was thinking of very old 
times, when the Romans first 
came here, nineteen hundred 
years ago the other day. . . . 
Light came out of this river 
since you say Knights ? Yes ; 
but it is like a running blaze on 
a plain, like a flash of light- 
ning in the clouds. We live in 
the flicker may it last as long 
as the old earth keeps rolling ! 
But darkness was here yester- 
day. Imagine the feelings of a 
commander of a fine what d'ye 
call 'em ? trireme in the Medi- 
terranean, ordered suddenly to 
the north ; run overland across 
the Gauls in a hurry; put in 
charge of one of these craft the 
legionaries, a wonderful lot of 
handy men they must have been 
too used to build, apparently 
by the hundred, in a month or 
two, if we may believe what we 
read. Imagine him here the 
very end of the world, a sea the 
colour of lead, a sky the colour 
of smoke, a kind of ship about 
as rigid as a concertina and 
going up this river with stores, 
or orders, or what you like. 
Sandbanks, marshes, forests, 
savages, precious little to eat 
fit for a civilised man, nothing 
but Thames water to drink. 
No Falernian wine here, no 
going ashore. Here and there 
a military camp lost in a wilder- 



196 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



ness, like a needle in a bundle of 
hay cold, fog, tempests, dis- 
ease, exile, and death, death 
skulking in the air, in the 
water, in the bush. They must 
have been dying like flies here. 
Oh yes he did it. Did it very 
well, too, no doubt, and with- 
out thinking much about it 
either, except afterwards to 
brag of what he had gone 
through in his time, perhaps. 
They were men enough to face 
the darkness. And perhaps he 
was cheered by keeping his eye 
on a chance of promotion to the 
fleet at Ravenna by-and-by, if 
he had good friends in Rome 
and survived the awful climate. 
Or think of a decent young 
citizen in a toga perhaps too 
much dice, you know coming 
out here in the train of some 
prefect, or tax-gatherer, or 
trader even, to mend his for- 
tunes. Land in a swamp, 
march through the woods, and 
in some inland post feel the 
savagery, the utter savagery, 
had closed round him, all that 
mysterious life of the wilderness 
that stirs in the forest, in the 
jungles, in the hearts of wild 
men. There's no initiation 
either into such mysteries. He 
has to live in the midst of the 
incomprehensible, which is also 
detestable. And it has a fas- 
cination, too, that goes to work 
upon him. The fascination of 
the abomination you know. 
Imagine the growing regrets, 
the longing to escape, the 
powerless disgust, the sur- 
render, the hate." 

He paused. 

" Mind," he began again, lift- 
ing one arm from the elbow, 
the palm of the hand outwards, 



so that, with his legs folded be- 
fore him, he had the pose of a 
Buddha preaching in European 
clothes and without a lotus- 
flower " Mind, none of us 
would feel exactly like this. 
What saves us is efficiency 
the devotion to efficiency. 
But these chaps were not much 
account, really. They were no 
colonists ; their administration 
was merely a squeeze, and no- 
thing more, I suspect. They 
were conquerors, and for that 
you want only brute force- 
nothing to boast of, when you 
have it, since your strength is 
just an accident arising from 
the weakness of others. They 
grabbed what they could get 
for the sake of what was to be 
got. It was just robbery with 
violence, aggravated murder on 
a great scale, and men going at 
it blind as is very proper for 
those who tackle a darkness. 
The conquest of the earth, 
which mostly means the taking 
it away from those who have a 
different complexion or slightly 
flatter noses than ourselves, is 
not a pretty thing when you 
look into it too much. What 
redeems it is the idea only. An 
idea at the back of it ; not a 
sentimental pretence but an 
idea ; and an unselfish belief in 
the idea something you can 
set up, and bow down before, 
and offer a sacrifice to. . . ." 
He broke off. Flames glided 
in the river, small green flames, 
red flames, white flames, pur- 
suing, overtaking, joining, cross- 
ing each other then separating 
slowly or hastily. The traffic 
of the great city went on in 
the deepening night upon the 
sleepless river. We looked on r 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



197 



waiting patiently there was 
nothing else to do till the end 
of the flood; but it was only 
after a long silence, when he 
said, in a hesitating voice, "I 
suppose you fellows remember 
I did once turn fresh -water 
sailor for a bit," that we knew 
we were fated, before the ebb 
began to run, to hear about 
one of Marlow's inconclusive 
experiences. 

" I don't want to bother you 
much with what happened to 
me personally," he began, show- 
ing in this remark the weak- 
ness of many tellers of tales 
who seem so often unaware 
of what their audience would 
best like to hear ; " yet to 
understand the effect of it on 
me you ought to know how 
I got out there, what I saw, 
how I went up that river to 
the place where I first met the 
poor chap. It was the farthest 
point of navigation and the cul- 
minating point of my experi- 
ence. It seemed somehow to 
throw a kind of light on every- 
thing about me and into my 
thoughts. It was sombre 
enough too and pitiful not 
extraordinary in any way not 
very clear either. No, not very 
clear. And yet it seemed to 
throw a kind of light. 

"I had then, as you remem- 
ber, just returned to London 
after a lot of Indian Ocean, 
Pacific, China Seas a regular 
dose of the East six years or 
so, and I was loafing about, 
hindering you fellows in your 
work and invading your homes, 
just as though I had got a 
heavenly mission to civilise 
you. It was very fine for a 
time, but after a bit I did get 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



tired of resting. Then I began 
to look for a ship I should 
think the hardest work on 
earth. But the ships wouldn't 
even look at me. And I got 
tired of that game too. 

"Now when I was a little 
chap I had a passion for maps. 
I would look for hours at 
South America, or Africa, or 
Australia, and lose myself in 
all the glories of exploration. 
At that time there were many 
blank spaces on the earth, and 
when I saw one that looked 
particularly inviting on a map 
(but they all look that) I would 
put my finger on it and say, 
When I grow up I will go 
there. The North Pole was 
one of these places, I remember. 
Well, I haven't been there yet, 
and shall not try now. The 
glamour's off. Other places 
were scattered about the Equa- 
tor, and in every sort of lati- 
tude all over the two hemi- 
spheres. I have been in some 
of them, and . . . well, we 
won't talk about that. But 
there was one yet the biggest, 
the most blank, so to speak 
that I had a hankering after. 

"True, by this time it was 
not a blank space any more. 
It had got filled since my boy- 
hood with rivers and lakes and 
names. It had ceased to be 
a blank space of delightful 
mystery a white patch for 
a boy to dream gloriously over. 
It had become a place of dark- 
ness. But there was in it one 
river especially, a mighty big 
river, that you could see on the 
map, resembling an immense 
snake uncoiled, with its head 
in the sea, its body at rest curv- 
ing afar over a vast country, 
O 



198 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



and its tail lost in the depths 
of the land. And as I looked 
at the map of it in a shop- 
window, it fascinated me as 
a snake would a bird a silly 
little bird. Then I remem- 
bered there was a big concern, 
a Company for trade on that 
river. Dash it all ! I thought 
to myself, they can't trade 
without using some kind of 
craft on that lot of fresh water 
steam-boats ! Why shouldn't 
I try to get charge of one. I 
went on along Fleet Street, but 
could not shake off the idea. 
The snake had charmed me. 

"You understand it was a 
Continental concern, that Trad- 
ing society; but I have a lot 
of relations living on the Con- 
tinent, because it's cheap and 
not so nasty as it looks, they 
say. 

" I am sorry to own I began 
to worry them. This was 
already a fresh departure for 
me. I was not used to get 
things that way, you know. 
I always went my own road 
and on my own legs where I 
had a mind to go. I wouldn't 
have believed it of myself ; but, 
then you see I felt some- 
how I must get there by hook 
or by crook. So I worried 
them. The men said ' My dear 
fellow,' and did nothing. Then 
would you believe it ? I tried 
the women. I, Charlie Marlow, 
set the women to work to get 
a job. Heavens ! Well, you 
see, the notion drove me. I 
had an aunt, a dear enthusi- 
astic soul. She wrote : ' It will 
be delightful. I am ready to 
do anything, anything for you. 
It is a glorious idea. I know 
the wife of a very high person- 
age in the Administration, and 



also a man who has lots of 
influence with,' &c., &c. She 
was determined to make no end 
of fuss to get me appointed 
skipper of a river steam -boat, 
if such was my fancy. 

"I got my appointment of 
course ; and I got it very quick. 
It appears the Company had 
received news that one of their 
captains had been killed in a 
scuffle with the natives. This 
was my chance, and it made 
me the more anxious to go. It 
was only months and months 
afterwards, when I made the 
attempt to recover what was 
left of the body, that I heard 
the original quarrel arose from 
a misunderstanding about some 
hens. Yes, two black hens. 
Fresleven that was the fel- 
low's name, a Dane thought 
himself wronged somehow in 
the bargain, so he went ashore 
and started to hammer the 
chief of the village with a stick. 
Oh, it didn't surprise me in the 
least to hear this, and at the 
same time to be told that Fres- 
leven was the gentlest, quietest 
creature that ever walked on 
two legs. No doubt he was; 
but he had been a couple of 
years already out there engaged 
in the noble cause, you know, 
and he probably felt the need 
at last of asserting his self- 
respect in some way. Therefore 
he whacked the old nigger 
mercilessly, while a big crowd 
of his people watched him, 
thunderstruck, till some man, 
I was told the chief's son, 
in desperation at hearing the 
old chap yell, made a tentative 
jab with a spear at the white 
man and of course it went 
quite easy between the shoulder- 
blades. Then the whole popu- 



1899. 



The Heart of Darkness. 



199 



lation cleared into the forest, 
expecting all kinds of calamities 
to happen, while, on the other 
hand, the steamer Fresleven com- 
manded left also in a bad panic, 
in charge of the engineer, I 
believe. Afterwards nobody 
seemed to trouble much about 
Fresleven's remains, till I got out 
and stepped into his shoes. I 
couldn't let it rest, though ; but 
when an opportuity offered at 
last to meet my predecessor, the 
grass growing through his ribs 
was tall enough to hide his 
bones. They were all there. 
The supernatural being had not 
been touched after he fell. And 
the village was deserted, the 
huts gaped black, rotting, all 
askew within the fallen enclos- 
ures. A calamity had come to 
it, sure enough. The people 
had vanished. Mad terror had 
scattered them, men, women, 
and children, through the bush, 
and they had never returned. 
What became of the hens I 
don't know either. I should 
think the cause of progress 
got them, anyhow. However, 
through this glorious affair I 
got my appointment, before I 
had fairly begun to hope for it. 
"I flew around like mad to 
get ready, and before forty- 
eight hours I was crossing the 
Channel to show myself to my 
employers, and sign the con- 
tract. In a very few hours 
I arrived in a city that always 
makes me think of a whited 
sepulchre. Prejudice no doubt. 
I had no difficulty in finding 
the Company's offices. It was 
the biggest thing in the town, 
and everybody I met was full 
of it. They were going to run 
an over-sea empire, and make 
no end of coin by trade, 



"A narrow and deserted 
street in deep shadow, high 
houses, innumerable windows 
with Venetian blinds, a dead 
silence, grass sprouting be- 
tween the stones, imposing 
carriage archways right and 
left, immense double doors 
standing ponderously ajar. I 
slipped through one of these 
cracks, went up a swept and 
ungarnished staircase, as arid 
as a desert, and opened the 
first door I came to. Two 
women, one fat and the other 
slim, sat on straw - bottomed 
chairs, knitting black wool. 
The slim one got up and 
walked straight at me still 
knitting with downcast eyes 
and only just as I began 
to think of getting out of 
her way, as you would for a 
somnambulist, stood still, and 
looked up. Her dress was as 
plain as an umbrella - cover, 
and she turned round with- 
out a word and preceded me 
into a waiting-room. I gave 
my name, and looked about. 
Deal table in the middle, 
plain chairs all round the 
walls, on one end a large 
shining map, marked with all 
the colours of a rainbow. 
There was a vast amount of 
red good to see at any 
time, because one knows that 
some real work is done in 
there, a deuce of a lot of 
blue, a little green, smears 
of orange, and, on the East 
Coast, a purple patch, to 
show where the jolly pion- 
eers of progress drink the 
jolly lager -beer. However, I 
wasn't going into any of 
these. I was going into the 
yellow. Dead in the centre. 
And the river was there 



200 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



fascinating deadly like a 
snake. Ough ! A door opened, 
a white-haired secretarial head, 
but wearing a compassionate 
expression, appeared, and a 
skinny forefinger beckoned me 
into the sanctuary. Its light 
was dim, and a heavy writing- 
desk squatted in the middle. 
From behind that structure 
came out an impression of 
pale plumpness in a frock- 
coat. The great man himself. 
He was five feet six, I should 
judge, and had his grip on 
the handle - end of ever so 
many millions. He shook 
hands, I fancy, murmured 
vaguely, was satisfied with 
my French. Bon voyage. 

"In about forty-five seconds 
I found myself again in the 
waiting-room with the compas- 
sionate secretary, who, full of 
desolation and sympathy, made 
me sign some document. I 
believe I undertook amongst 
other things not to disclose 
any trade secrets. Well, I am 
not going to. 

" I began to feel slightly un- 
easy. You know I am not used 
to such ceremonies, and there 
was something ominous in the 
atmosphere. It was just as 
though I had been let into 
some conspiracy I don't know 
something not quite right ; 
and I was glad to get out. In 
the outer room the two women 
knitted black wool feverishly. 
People were arriving, and the 
younger one was walking back 
and forth introducing them. 
The old one sat on her chair. 
Her flat cloth slippers were 
propped up on a foot-warmer, 
and a cat reposed on her lap. 
She wore a starched white 



affair on her head, had a wart 
on one cheek, and silver-rimmed 
spectacles hung on the tip of 
her nose. She glanced at me 
above the glasses. The swift 
and indifferent placidity of that 
look troubled me. Two youths 
with foolish and cheery counten- 
ances were being piloted over, 
and she threw at them the 
same quick glance of uncon- 
cerned wisdom. She seemed to 
know all about them and about 
me too. An eerie feeling came 
over me. She seemed uncanny 
and fateful. Often far away 
there I thought of these two, 
guarding the door of Darkness, 
knitting black wool as for a 
warm pall, one introducing, 
introducing, continuously to the 
unknown, the other scrutinising 
the cheery and foolish faces with 
unconcerned old eyes. "Ave! 
Old knitter of black wool. 
Morituri te salutant. Not many 
of these she looked at ever saw 
her again not half, by a long 
way. 

"There was yet a visit to 
the doctor. 'A simple for- 
mality,' assured me the secre- 
tary, with an air of taking 
an immense part in all my 
sorrows. Accordingly a young 
chap wearing his hat over the 
left eyebrow, some clerk I sup- 
pose, there must have been 
clerks in the business, though 
the house was as still as a 
house in a city of the dead, 
came from somewhere up-stairs, 
and led me forth. He was 
shabby and careless, with ink- 
stains on the sleeves of his 
jacket, and his cravat was 
large and billowy, under a chin 
shaped like the toe of an old 
boot. It was a little too early 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



201 



for the doctor, so I proposed a 
drink, and thereupon he de- 
veloped a vein of joviality. As 
we sat over our vermuths he 
glorified the Company's busi- 
ness, and by - and - by I ex- 
pressed casually my surprise 
at him not going out there. 
He became very cool and col- 
lected all at once. 'I am not 
such a fool as I look, quoth 
Plato to his disciples,' he said 
sententiously, emptied his glass 
with great resolution, and we 
rose. 

"The old doctor felt my 
pulse, evidently thinking of 
something else the while. 
'Good, good for there,' he 
mumbled, and then with a cer- 
tain eagerness asked me whether 
I would let him measure my 
head. Rather surprised, I said 
Yes, when he produced a thing 
like calipers and got the dimen- 
sions back and front and every 
way, taking notes carefully. 
He was an unshaven little man 
in a threadbare coat like a 
gaberdine, with his feet in 
slippers, and I thought him a 
harmless fool. 'I always ask 
leave, in the interests of science, 
to measure the crania of those 
going out there,' he said. ' And 
when they come back too?' I 
asked. ' Oh, I never see them,' 
he remarked; 'and, moreover, 
the changes take place inside, 
you know.' He smiled, as if at 
some quiet joke. 'So you are 
going out there. Famous. In- 
teresting too.' He gave me a 
searching glance, and made 
another note. ' Ever any mad- 
ness in your family ? ' he asked, 
in a matter-of-fact tone. I felt 
very annoyed. 'Is that ques- 
tion in the interests of science 



too?' 'It would be,' he said, 
without taking notice of my 
irritation, 'interesting for science 
to watch the mental changes of 
individuals, on the spot, but 
. . .' ' Are you an alienist ? ' 
I interrupted. 'Every doctor 
should be a little,' answered 
that original, imperturbably. 
'I have a little theory which 
you Messieurs who go out there 
must help me to prove. This is 
my share in the advantages my 
country shall reap from the 
possession of such a magnificent 
dependency. The mere wealth 
I leave to others. Pardon my 
questions, but you are the first 
Englishman coming under my 
observation . . .' I hastened 
to assure him I was not in the 
least typical. 'If I were,' said 
I, 'I wouldn't be talking like 
this with you.' 'What you say 
is rather profound, and probably 
erroneous,' he said, with a 
laugh. 'Avoid irritation more 
than exposure to the sun. 
Adieu. How do you English 
say, eh ? Good - bye. Ah ! 
Good - bye. Adieu. In the 
tropics one must before every- 
thing keep calm.' . . . He lifted 
a warning forefinger. . . . ' Du 
calme, du calme. Adieu* 

" One thing more remained 
to do say good-bye to my 
excellent aunt. I found her 
triumphant. I had a cup of 
tea the last decent cup of 
tea for many days ; and in 
a room that most soothingly 
looked just as you would ex- 
pect a lady's drawing-room to 
look, we had a long quiet 
chat by the fireside. In the 
course of these confidences it 
became quite plain to me I 
had been represented to the 



202 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



wife of the high dignitary, 
and goodness knows to how 
many more people besides, as 
an exceptional and gifted crea- 
ture a piece of good fortune 
for the Company a man you 
don't get hold of every day. 
Good heavens ! and I was 
going to take charge of a two- 
penny - halfpenny river - steam- 
boat with a penny whistle at- 
tached ! It appeared, however, 
I was also one of the Workers, 
with a capital you know. 
Something like an emissary of 
light, something like a lower 
sort of apostle. There had 
been a lot of such rot let loose 
in print and talk just about 
that time, and the excellent 
woman, living right in the rush 
of all that humbug, got carried 
off her feet. She talked about 
'weaning those ignorant mil- 
lions from their horrid ways,' 
till, upon my word, she made 
me quite uncomfortable. I 
ventured to hint that the Com- 
pany was run for profit. 

" ' You forget, dear Charlie, 
that the labourer is worthy of 
his hire,' she said, brightly. 
It's queer how out of touch 
with truth women are. They 
live in a world of their own, 
and there had never been any- 
thing like it, and never can 
be. It is too beautiful alto- 
gether, and if they were to set 
it up it would go to pieces 
before the first sunset. Some 
confounded fact we men have 
been living contentedly with 
ever since the day of creation 
would start up and knock the 
whole thing over. 

"After this I got embraced, 
told to wear flannel, be sure 
to write often, and so on and 



I left. In the street I don't 
know why a queer feeling 
came to me that I was an im- 
postor. Odd thing that I, who 
used to clear out for any part of 
the world at twenty-four hours' 
notice, with less thought than 
most men give to the crossing 
of a street, had a moment I 
won't say of hesitation, but of 
startled pause, before this com- 
monplace affair. The best way 
I can explain it to you is by 
saying that, for a second or 
two, I felt as though, instead 
of going to the centre of a con- 
tinent, I were about to set off 
for the centre of the earth. 

" I left in a French steamer, 
and she called in every blamed 
port they have out there, for, 
as far as I could see, the sole 
purpose of landing soldiers and 
custom-house officers. I watched 
the coast. Watching a coast as 
it slips by the ship is like think- 
ing about an enigma. There it 
is before you smiling, frowning, 
inviting, grand, mean, insipid, 
or savage, and always mute 
with an air of whispering, Come 
and find out. This one was 
almost featureless, as if still in 
the making, with an aspect of 
monotonous grimness. The edge 
of a colossal jungle, so dark- 
green as to be almost black, 
fringed with white surf, ran 
straight, like a ruled line, far, 
far away along a blue sea 
whose glitter was blurred by 
a creeping mist. The sun was 
fierce, the land seemed to glis- 
ten and drip with steam. Here 
and there greyish - whitish 
specks showed up, clustered in- 
side the white surf, with a flag 
flying above them perhaps. 
Settlements some centuries old, 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



203 



and still no bigger than pin- 
heads on the untouched ex- 
panse of their background. 
We pounded along, stopped, 
landed soldiers ; went on, land- 
ed custom-house clerks to levy 
toll in what looked like a God- 
forsaken wilderness, with a tin 
shed and a flag-pole lost in it ; 
landed more soldiers to take 
of the custom-house clerks, 
presumably. Some, I heard, 
>t drowned in the surf; but 
rhether they did or not, no- 
ly seemed particularly to 
care. They were just flung 
out there, and on we went. 
Every day the coast looked 
the same, as though we had 
not moved ; but we passed vari- 
ous places trading places 
with names like Gran' Bassam 
Little Popo, names that seemed 
to belong to some sordid farce 
acted in front of a sinister 
backcloth. The idleness of a 
passenger, my isolation amongst 
all these men with whom I 
had no point of contact, the 
oily and languid sea, the uni- 
form sombreness of the coast, 
seemed to keep me away from 
the truth of things within the 
toil of a mournful and senseless 
delusion. The voice of the surf 
heard now and then was a posi- 
tive pleasure, like the speech of 
a brother. It was something 
natural, that had its reason, 
that had a meaning. Now and 
then a boat from the shore gave 
one a momentary contact with 
reality. It was paddled by 
black fellows. You could see 
from afar the white of their eye- 
balls glistening. They shouted, 
sang ; their bodies streamed 
with perspiration; they had 
faces like grotesque masks 



these chaps ; but they had bone, 
muscle, a wild vitality, an 
intense energy of movement, 
that was as natural and true 
as the surf along their coast. 
They wanted no excuse for 
being there. They were a great 
comfort to look at. For a time 
I would feel I belonged still to 
a world of straightforward facts ; 
but the feeling would not last 
long. Something would turn 
up to scare it away. Once, I 
remember, we came upon a man- 
of-war anchored off the coast. 
There wasn't even a shed there, 
and she was shelling the bush. 
It appears the French had one 
of their wars going on there- 
abouts. Her ensign dropped 
limp like a rag ; the muzzles of 
the long eight-inch guns stuck 
out all over the low hull; the 
greasy, slimy swell swung her 
up lazily and let her down, 
swaying her thin masts. In the 
empty immensity of earth, sky, 
and water, there she was, in- 
comprehensible, firing into a 
continent. Pop, would go one 
of the eight-inch guns ; a small 
flame would dart and vanish, a 
little white smoke would dis- 
appear, a tiny projectile would 
give a feeble screech and 
nothing happened. Nothing 
could happen. There was a 
touch of insanity in the pro- 
ceeding, a sense of lugubrious 
drollery in the sight ; and it was 
not dissipated by somebody on 
board assuring me earnestly 
there was a camp of natives 
he called them enemies ! hidden 
out of sight somewhere. 

"We gave her her letters (I 
heard the men in that lonely 
ship were dying of fever at the 
rate of three a-day) and went 



204 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



on. We called at some more 
places with farcical names, where 
the merry dance of death and 
trade goes on in a still and 
earthy atmosphere as of an 
overheated catacomb ; all along 
the formless coast bordered by 
dangerous surf, as if Nature her- 
self had tried to ward off in- 
truders ; in and out of rivers, 
streams of death in life, whose 
banks were rotting into mud, 
whose waters, thickened into 
slime, invaded the contorted 
mangroves, that seemed to 
writhe at us in the extremity 
of an impotent despair. No- 
where did we stop long enough 
to get a particularised impres- 
sion, but the general sense of 
vague and oppressive wonder 
grew upon me. It was like a 
weary pilgrimage amongst hints 
for nightmares. 

"It was upward of thirty 
days before I saw the mouth 
of the big river. We anchored 
off the seat of the government. 
But my work would not begin 
till some two hundred miles 
farther on. So as soon as I 
could I made a start for a place 
thirty miles higher up. 

" I had my passage on a little 
sea-going steamer. Her cap- 
tain was a Swede, and knowing 
me for a seaman, invited me on 
the bridge. He was a young 
man, lean, fair, and morose, 
with lanky hair and a shuffling 
gait. As we left the miserable 
little wharf, he tossed his head 
contemptuously at the shore. 
' Been living there ? ' he asked. 
I said, 'Yes.' 'Fine lot these 
government chaps are they 
not ? ' he went on, speaking 
English with great precision 
and considerable bitterness. ' It 



is funny what some people will 
do for a few francs a-month. 
I wonder what becomes of that 
kind when it goes up country ? ' 
I said to him I expected to see 
that soon. ' So-o-o ! ' he ex- 
claimed. He shuffled athwart, 
keeping one eye ahead vigil- 
antly. 'Don't be too sure,' 
he continued. 'The other day 
I took up a man who hanged 
himself on the road. He was a 
Swede, too.' ' Hanged himself ! 
Why, in God's name ? ' I cried. 
He kept on looking out watch- 
fully. ' Who knows ? The sun 
too much for him, or the country 
perhaps.' 

"At last we turned a bend. 
A rocky cliff appeared, mounds 
of turned-up earth by the shore, 
houses on a hill, others, with 
iron roofs, amongst a waste of 
excavations, or hanging to the 
declivity. A continuous noise 
of the rapids above hovered over 
this scene of inhabited devasta- 
tion. A lot of people, mostly 
black and naked, moved about 
like ants. A jetty projected 
into the river. A blinding sun- 
light drowned all this at times in 
a sudden recrudescence of glare. 
'There's your Company's sta- 
tion,' said the Swede, pointing 
to three wooden barrack -like 
structures on the rocky slope. 
'I will send your things up. 
Four boxes did you say? So. 
Farewell.' 

"I came upon a boiler wal- 
lowing in the grass, then found 
a path leading up the hill. It 
turned aside for the boulders, 
and also for an undersized rail- 
way-truck lying there on its 
back with its wheels in the air. 
One was off. The thing looked 
as dead as the carcass of some 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



205 



animal. I came upon more 
pieces of decaying machinery, 
a stack of rusty rails. To the 
left a clump of trees made a 
shady spot, where dark things 
seemed to stir feebly. I 
blinked, the path was steep. 
A horn tooted to the right, and 
I saw the black people run. 
A heavy and dull detonation 
shook the ground, a puff of 
smoke came out of the cliff, 
and that was all. No change 
appeared on the face of the 
rock. They were building a 
railway. The cliff was not in 
the way or anything ; but this 
objectless blasting was all the 
work going on. 

" A slight clinking behind me 
made me turn my head. Six 
' black men advanced in a file, 
toiling up the path. They 
walked erect and slow, balanc- 
ing small baskets full of earth 
on their heads, and the clink 
kept time with their footsteps. 
Black rags were wound round 
their loins, and the short ends 
behind wagged to and fro like 
tails. I could see every rib, 
the joints of their limbs were 
knots in a rope; each had 
an iron collar on his neck, and 
all were connected together with 
a chain whose bights swung be- 
tween them, rhythmically clink- 
ing. Another report from the 
cliff made me think suddenly of 
that ship of war I had seen 
firing into a continent. It was 
the same kind of ominous voice ; 
but these men could by no 
stretch of imagination be called 
enemies. They were called 
criminals, and the outraged 
law, like the bursting shells, 
had come to them, an insoluble 
mystery from over the sea. 



All their meagre breasts panted 
together, the violently dilated 
nostrils quivered, the eyes 
stared stonily up-hill. They 
passed me within six inches, 
without a glance, with that 
complete, deathlike indifference 
of unhappy savages. Behind 
this raw matter one of the 
reclaimed, the product of the 
new forces at work, strolled 
despondently, carrying a rifle by 
its middle. He had a uniform 
jacket with a button off, and 
seeing a white man on the 
path, hoisted his weapon to his 
shoulder with alacrity. This 
was simple prudence, white 
men being so much alike at a 
distance that he could not tell 
who I might be. He was 
speedily reassured, and with a 
large, white, rascally grin, and 
a glance at his charge, seemed 
to take me into partnership in 
his exalted trust. After all, I 
also was a part of the great 

JL O 

cause of these high and just 
proceedings. 

" Instead of going up, I turned 
and descended to the left. My 
idea was to let that chain-gang 
get out of sight before I climbed 
the hill. You know I am not 
particularly tender ; I've had to 
strike and to fend off. I've had 
to resist and to attack some- 
times that's only one way of 
resisting without counting the 
exact cost, according to the 
demands of such sort of life as 
I had blundered into. I've seen 
the devil of violence, and the 
devil of greed, and the devil of 
hot desire ; but, by all the stars ! 
these were strong, lusty, red- 
eyed devils, that swayed and 
drove men men, I tell you. 
But as I stood on this hillside, 



206 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



I foresaw that in the blinding 
sunshine of that land I would 
become acquainted with a flab- 
by, pretending, weak-eyed devil 
of a rapacious and pitiless folly. 
How insidious he could be, too, 
I was only to find out several 
months later and a thousand 
miles farther. For a moment 
I stood appalled, as though by 
a warning. Finally I descend- 
ed the hill, obliquely, towards 
the trees I had seen. 

" I avoided a vast artificial 
hole somebody had been dig- 
ging on the slope, the purpose 
of which I found it impossible 
to divine. It wasn't a quarry 
or a sandpit, anyhow. It was 
just a hole. It might have 
been connected with the phil- 
anthropic desire of giving the 
criminals something to do. I 
don't know. Then I nearly 
fell into a very narrow ravine, 
almost no more than a scar in 
the hillside. I discovered that 
a lot of imported drainage-pipes 
for the settlement had been 
tumbled in there. There wasn't 
one that was not broken. It 
was a wanton smash -up. At 
last I got under the trees. My 
purpose was to stroll into the 
shade for a moment ; but it 
seemed to me I had stepped into 
the gloomy circle of some In- 
ferno. The river was near, and 
an uninterrupted, uniform, head- 
long, rushing noise filled the 
mournful stillness of the grove, 
where not a breath stirred, not 
a leaf moved with a mysterious 
sound, as though the tearing 
pace of the launched earth had 
suddenly become audible. 

" Black shapes crouched, lay, 
sat between the trees, leaning 
against the trunks, clinging to 



the earth, half coming out, 
half effaced within the dim 
light, in all the attitudes of 
pain, abandonment, and despair. 
Another mine on the cliff went 
off, followed by a slight shudder 
of the soil under my feet. The 
work was going on. The work ! 
And this was the place where 
some of the helpers had with- 
drawn to die. 

"They were dying slowly 
it was very clear. They were 
not enemies, they were not 
criminals, they were nothing 
earthly now, nothing but black 
shadows of disease and starva- 
tion, lying confusedly in the 
greenish gloom. Brought from 
all the recesses of the coast in 
all the legality of time con- 
tracts, lost in uncongenial sur- 
roundings, fed on unfamiliar 
food, they sickened, became 
inefficient, and were then al- 
lowed to crawl away and rest. 
These moribund shapes were 
free as air and nearly as 
thin. I began to distinguish 
the gleam of eyes under the 
trees. Then, glancing down, I 
saw a face near my hand. The 
black bones reclined at full 
length with one shoulder 
against the tree, and slowly 
the eyelids rose and the sunk- 
en eyes looked up at me, enor- 
mous and vacant, a kind of 
blind, white flicker in the 
depths of the orbs, which died 
out slowly. The man seemed 
young almost a boy but you 
know with them it's hard to 
tell. I found nothing else to 
do but to offer him one of my 
good Swede's ship's biscuits I 
had in my pocket. The fingers 
closed slowly on it and held 
there was no other movement 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



207 



and no other glance. He had 
tied a bit of white worsted 
round his neck Why ? Where 
did he get it ? Was it a badge 
an ornament a charm a 
propitiatory act? Was there 
any idea at all connected with 
it? It looked startling round 
his black neck, this bit of 
white thread from beyond the 
seas. 

"Near the same tree two 
more bundles of acute angles 
sat with their legs drawn up. 
One, with his chin propped on 
his knees, stared at nothing, in 
an intolerable and appalling 
manner. His brother phantom 
rested its forehead, as if over- 
come with a great weariness ; 
and all about others were scat- 
tered in every pose of contorted 
collapse, as in some picture of 
a massacre or a pestilence. 
While I stood horror-struck, 
one of these creatures rose to 
his hands and knees, and went 
off on all - fours towards the 
river to drink. He lapped out 
of his hand, then sat up in the 
sunlight, crossing his shins in 
front of him, and after a time 
let his woolly head fall on his 
breastbone. 

"I didn't want anymore loiter- 
ing in the shade, and I made 
haste towards the station. When 
near the buildings I met a white 
man, in such an unexpected ele- 
gance of get-up that in the 
first moment I took him for a 
sort of vision. I saw a high 
starched collar, white cuffs, a 
light alpaca jacket, snowy 
trousers, a clear necktie, and 
varnished boots. No hat. Hair 
parted, brushed, oiled, under a 
green -lined parasol held in a 
big white hand. He was amaz- 



ing, and had a penholder behind 
his ear. 

" I shook hands with this 
miracle, and I learned he was 
the Company's chief accountant, 
and that all the book-keeping 
was done at this station. He 
had come out for a moment, he 
said, ' to get a breath of fresh 
air.' The expression sounded 
wonderfully odd, with its sug- 
gestion of sedentary desk -life. 
I wouldn't have mentioned the 
fellow to you at all, only it was 
from his lips that I first heard 
the name of the man who is so 
indissolubly connected with the 
memories of that time. More- 
over, I respected the fellow. 
Yes ; I respected his collars, his 
vast cuffs, his brushed hair. 
His appearance was certainly 
that of a hairdresser's dummy; 
but in the great demoralisation 
of the land he kept up his 
appearance. That's backbone. 
His starched collars and got-up 
shirt-fronts were achievements 
of character. He had been out 
nearly three years; and, later 
on, I could not help asking him 
how he managed to sport such 
linen. He had just the faintest 
blush, and said modestly, 'I've 
been teaching one of the native 
women about the station. It 
was difficult. She had a dis- 
taste for the work.' Thus this 
man had verily accomplished 
something. And he was de- 
voted to his books. 

"Everything in the station 
was in a muddle, heads, 
things, buildings. Strings of 
dusty niggers with splay feet 
arrived and departed ; and a 
stream of manufactured goods, 
rubbishy cottons, beads, and 
brass-wire set into the depths 



208 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



of darkness, and in return came 
a precious trickle of ivory. 

" I had to wait in the station 
for ten days an eternity. I 
lived in a hut in the yard. To 
be out of the chaos I would 
sometimes get into the account- 
ant's office. It was built of 
horizontal planks, and so badly 
put together that, as he bent 
over his high desk, he was 
barred from neck to heels with 
narrow strips of sunlight. There 
was no need to open the big 
shutter to see. It was hot there 
too ; big flies buzzed fiendishly, 
and did not sting, but stabbed. 
I sat generally on the floor, 
while, of faultless appearance 
(and even slightly scented), 
perching on a high stool, he 
wrote, he wrote. Sometimes he 
stood up for exercise. When 
a truckle-bed with a sick man 
(some invalided agent from up- 
country) was put in there, he 
exhibited a gentle annoyance. 
' The groans of this sick person,' 
he said, ' distract my attention. 
And without that it is ex- 
tremely difficult to guard 
against clerical errors in this 
climate.' 

" One day he remarked, with- 
out lifting his head, 'In the 
interior you will no doubt meet 
Mr Kurtz.' On my asking 
who Mr Kurtz was, he said he 
was a first-class agent ; and see- 
ing my disappointment at this 
information, he added slowly, 
laying down his pen, 'He is a 
very remarkable person.' Fur- 
ther questions elicited from him 
that Mr Kurtz was at present 
in charge of a trading post, a 
very important one, in the true 
ivory-country, at ' the very bot- 
tom of there. Sends in as much 



ivory as all the others put to- 
gether. . . .' He began to 
write again. The sick man 
was too ill to groan. The flies 
buzzed in a great peace. 

" Suddenly there was a grow- 
ing murmur of voices and a 
great tramping of feet. A 
caravan had come in. A vio- 
lent babble of uncouth sounds 
burst out on the other side of 
the planks. All the carriers 
were speaking together, and in 
the midst of the uproar the 
lamentable voice of the chief 
agent was heard ' giving it up ' 
tearfully for the twentieth time 
that day. . . . He rose slowly. 
1 What a frightful row,' he said. 
He crossed the room gently to 
look at the sick man, and re- 
turning, said to me, 'He does 
not hear.' ' What ! Dead ? ' I 
asked, startled. 'No, not yet,' 
he answered, with great com- 
posure. Then, alluding with a 
toss of the head to the tumult 
in the station-yard, ' When one 
has got to make correct entries, 
one comes to hate those savages 
hate them to the death.' He 
remained thoughtful for a mo- 
ment. 'When you see Mr 
Kurtz,' he went on, 'tell him 
from me that everything here ' 
he glanced at the desk 'is 
very satisfactory. I don't like 
to write to him with those 
messengers of ours you never 
know who may get your letter 
at that Central Station.' He 
stared at me for a moment with 
his mild, bulging eyes. 'Oh, 
he will go far, very far,' he be- 
gan again. ' He will be a some- 
body in the Administration be- 
fore long. They, above the 
Council in Europe, you know 
mean him to be.' 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



209 



" He turned to his work. The 
noise outside had ceased, and 
presently as I went out I 
stopped at the door. In the 
steady buzz of flies the home- 
ward-bound agent was lying 
flushed and insensible ; the 
other, bent over his books, was 
making correct entries of per- 
fectly correct transactions ; and 
fifty feet below the doorstep I 
could see the still tree -tops of 
the grove of death. 

" Next day I left that station 
at last, with a caravan of sixty 
men, for a two - hundred - mile 
tramp. 

"No use telling you much 
about that. Paths, paths, 
everywhere; a stamped-in net- 
work of paths spreading over 
the empty land, through long 
grass, through burnt grass, 
through thickets, down and 
up chilly ravines, up and down 
stony hills ablaze with heat ; 
and a solitude, a solitude, 
nobody, not a hut. The pop- 
ulation had cleared out a long 
time ago. Well, if a lot of 
mysterious niggers armed with 
all kinds of fearful weapons 
suddenly took to travelling on 
the road between Deal and 
Gravesend, catching the yokels 
right and left to carry heavy 
loads for them, I fancy every 
farm and cottage thereabouts 
would get empty very soon. 
Only here the dwellings were 
gone too. Still I passed 
through several abandoned 
villages. There's something 
pathetically childish in the 
ruins of grass walls. Day 
after day, with the stamp 
and shuffle of sixty pair of 
bare feet behind me, each pair 
under a 60 -Ib. load. Camp, 



cook, sleep, strike camp, march. 
Now and then a carrier dead 
in harness, at rest in the long 
grass near the path, with an 
empty water -gourd and his 
long staff lying by his side. A 
great silence around and above. 
Perhaps on some quiet night 
the tremor of far-off drums, 
sinking, swelling, a tremor vast, 
faint; a sound weird, appeal- 
ing, suggestive, and wild and 
perhaps with as respectable a 
meaning as the sound of bells 
in a Christian country. Once 
a white man in an unbuttoned 
uniform, camping on the path 
with an armed escort of lank 
Zanzibaris, very hospitable and 
festive, not to say drunk. Was 
looking after the upkeep of the 
road, he declared. Can't say 
I saw any road or any up- 
keep, unless the body of a 
middle - aged negro, with a 
bullet - hole in the forehead, 
upon which I absolutely 
stumbled three miles farther 
on, may be considered as a 
permanent improvement. I 
had a white companion too, 
not a bad chap, but rather 
too fleshy and with the ex- 
asperating habit of fainting 
on the hot hillsides, miles, 
away from the least bit of 
shade and water. Annoying, 
you know, to hold your own 
coat like a parasol over a 
man's head while he is coin- 
ing -to. I couldn't help ask- 
ing him once what he meant 
by coming there at all. 'To 
make money, of course. What 
do you think?' he said, scorn- 
fully. Then he got fever, and 
had to be carried in a ham- 
mock slung on a pole. As he 
weighed sixteen stone I iiad 



210 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



no end of rows with the car- 
riers. They jibbed, ran away, 
sneaked off with their loads 
in the night quite a mutiny. 
So, one evening, I made a 
speech in English with ges- 
tures, not one of which was 
lost to the sixty pairs of eyes 
before me, and the next morn- 
ing I started the hammock 
off in front all right. An 
hour afterwards I came upon 
the whole concern wrecked in 
a bush man, hammock, groans, 
blankets, horrors. The heavy 
pole had skinned his poor nose. 
He was very anxious for me 
to kill somebody, but there 
wasn't the shadow of a car- 
rier near. I remembered the 
old doctor, 'It would be in- 
teresting for science to watch 
the mental changes of indi- 
viduals, on the spot.' I felt 
I was becoming scientifically 
interesting. However, all that 
is to no purpose. On the fif- 
teenth day I came in sight of 
the big river again, and hobbled 
into the Central Station. It 
was on a back water sur- 
rounded by scrub and forest, 
with a pretty border of smelly 
mud on one side, and on the 
three others enclosed by a 
crazy fence of rushes. A ne- 
glected gap was all the gate 
it had, and the first glance 
at the place was enough to 
let you see the flabby devil 
was running that show. White 
men with long staves in their 
hands appeared languidly from 
amongst the buildings, strolling 
up to take a look at me, and 
then retired out of sight some- 
where. One of them, a stout, 
excitable chap with black mous- 
taches, informed me with great 



volubility and many digres- 
sions, as soon as I told him 
who I was, that my steamer 
was at the bottom of the 
river. I was thunderstruck. 
What, how, why? Oh, it was 
' all right.' The ' manager him- 
self ' was there. All quite cor- 
rect. ' Everybody had behaved 
splendidly ! splendidly ! ' ' you 
must,' he said in agitation, ' go 
,and see the general manager 
at once. He is waiting ! ' 

" I did not see the real signi- 
ficance of that wreck at once. 
I fancy I see it now, but I am 
not sure not at all. Certainly 
the affair was too stupid when 
I think of it to be altogether 
natural. Still ... at the mo- 
ment it presented itself simply 
as a confounded nuisance. The 
steamer was sunk. They had 
started two days before in a 
sudden hurry up the river with 
the manager on board, in charge 
of some volunteer skipper, and 
before they had been out three 
hours they tore the bottom out 
of her on stones, and she sank 
near the south bank. I asked 
myself what I was to do there, 
now my boat was lost. As a 
matter of fact, I had plenty to 
do in fishing my command out 
of the river. I had to set about 
it the very next day. That, and 
the repairs when I brought the 
pieces to the station, took some 
months. 

" My first interview with the 
manager was curious. He did 
not ask me to sit down after 
my twenty - mile walk that 
morning. He was commonplace 
in complexion, in feature, in 
manners, and in voice. He was 
of middle size and of ordinary 
build. His eyes, of the usual 



1899." 



The Heart of Darkness. 



211 





blue, were perhaps remarkably 
cold, and he certainly could 
make his glance fall on one as 
trenchant and heavy as an axe. 
But even at these times the 
rest of his person seemed to dis- 
claim the intention. Otherwise 
there was only an indefinable 
faint expression of his lips, 
mething stealthy a smile 
not a smile I remember it, but 
can't explain. It was uncon- 
ous, this smile was, though 
just after he had said some- 
thing it got intensified for an 
instant. It came at the end of 
his speeches like a seal applied 
on the words to make the mean- 
ing of the commonest phrase 
appear absolutely inscrutable. 
He was a common trader, from 
his youth up, employed in these 
parts nothing more. He was 
obeyed, yet he inspired neither 
love nor fear, nor even respect. 
He inspired uneasiness. That 
was it ! Uneasiness. Not a 
definite mistrust just uneasi- 
ness nothing more. You have 
no idea how effective such a ... 
a ... faculty can be. He had 
no genius for organising, for 
initiative, or for order even. 
it was evident in such things 
the deplorable state of the 
,tion. He had no learning, 
.o intelligence. His position 
ad come to him why? Per- 
aps because he was never ill ... 
e had served three terms of 
three years out there . . . Be- 
cause triumphant health in the 
general rout of constitutions is a 
kind of power in itself. When 
he went home on leave he rioted 
on a large scale pompously. 
Jack ashore with a difference 
in externals only. This one 
could gather from his casual 



talk. He originated nothing, 
he could keep the routine going 
that's all. But he was great. 
He was great by this little thing 
that it was impossible to tell 
what could control such a man. 
He never gave that secret away. 
Perhaps there was nothing with- 
in him. Such a suspicion made 
one pause for out there there 
were no external checks. Once 
when various tropical diseases 
had laid low almost every 'agent ' 
in the station, he was heard to 
say, 'Men who come out here 
should have no entrails.' He 
sealed the utterance with that 
smile of his, as though it had 
been a door opening into a dark- 
ness he had in his keeping. 
You fancied you had seen things 
but the seal was on. When 
annoyed at meal-times by the 
constant quarrels of the white 
men about precedence, he or- 
dered an immense round table 
to be made, for which a special 
house had to be built. This 
was the station's mess - room. 
Where he sat was the first 
place the rest were nowhere. 
One felt this to be his unalter- 
able conviction. He was neither 
civil nor uncivil. He was quiet. 
He allowed his ' boy ' an over- 
fed young negro from the coast 
to treat the white men, under 
his very eyes, with provoking 
insolence. 

" He began to speak as soon 
is he saw me. I had been very 
long on the road. He could not 
wait. Had to start without 
me. The up-river stations had 
to be relieved. There had been 
so many delays already that he 
did not know who was dead 
and who was alive, and how 
they got on and so on, and so 



212 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



on. He paid no attention to my 
explanations, and, playing with 
a stick of sealing-wax, repeated 
several times that the situation 
was 'very grave, very grave.' 
There were rumours that a 
very important station was in 
jeopardy, and its chief, Mr 
Kurtz, was ill. Hoped it was 
not true. Mr Kurtz was . . . 
I felt weary and irritable. 
Hang Kurtz, I thought. I 
interrupted him by saying I 
had heard of Mr Kurtz on the 
coast. ' Ah ! So they talk of 
him down there,' he murmured 
to himself. Then he began 
again, assuring me Mr Kurtz 
was the best agent he had, an 
exceptional man, of the greatest 
importance to the Company ; 
therefore I could understand 
his anxiety. He was, he said, 
'very, very uneasy.' Certainly 
he fidgeted on his chair a 
good deal, exclaimed, 'Ah, Mr 
Kurtz ! ' broke the stick of 
sealing-wax and seemed dumb- 
founded by the accident. Next 
thing he wanted to know ' how 
long it would take to ' ... I 
interrupted him again. Being 
hungry, you know, and kept on 
my feet too, I was getting sav- 
age. ' How could I tell,' I said. 
'I hadn't even seen the wreck 
yet some months, no doubt.' 
All this talk seemed to me so 
futile. ' Some months,' he said. 
' Well, let us say three months 
before we can make a start. 
Yes. That ought to do the 
affair.' I flung out of his hut 
(he lived all alone in a clay hut 
with a sort of verandah) mut- 
tering to myself my opinion of 
him. He was a chattering 
idiot. Afterwards I took it 
back when it was borne in upon 



me startlingly with what ex- 
treme nicety he had estimated 
the time requisite for the 
' affair.' 

"I went to work the next 
day, turning, so to speak, my 
back on that station. In that 
way only it seemed to me I 
could keep my hold on the 
redeeming facts of life. Still, 
one must look about sometimes ; 
and then I saw this station, 
these men strolling aimlessly 
about in the sunshine of the 
yard. I asked myself some- 
times what it all meant ? They 
wandered here and there with 
their absurd long staves in 
their hands, like a lot of faith- 
less pilgrims bewitched inside 
a fence. The word 'ivory' 
rang in the air, was whispered, 
was sighed. You would think 
they were praying to it. A 
taint of imbecile rapacity blew 
through it all, like a whiff from 
some corpse. By Jove ! I've 
never seen anything so unreal 
in my life. And outside, the 
silent wilderness surrounding 
this cleared speck on the earth 
struck me as something great 
and invincible, like evil or truth, 
waiting patiently for the pass- 
ing away of this fantastic in- 
vasion. 

"Oh, these months! Well, 
never mind. Various things 
happened. One evening a 
grass shed full of calico, cotton 
prints, beads, and I don't know 
what else, burst into a blaze so 
suddenly that you would have 
thought the earth had opened 
to let an avenging fire consume 
all that trash. I was smoking 
my pipe quietly by my dis- 
mantled steamer, and saw them 
all cutting capers in the light, 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



213 



with their arms lifted high, 
when the stout man with mous- 
taches came tearing down to 
the river, a tin pail in his hand, 
assured me that everybody was 
' behaving splendidly, splen- 
didly,' dipped about a quart of 
water and tore back again. I 
noticed there was a hole in the 
bottom of his pail. 

" I strolled up. There was no 
hurry. You see the thing had 
gone off like a box of matches. 
It had been hopeless from 
the very first. The flame had 
leaped high, driven everybody 
back, lighted up everything 
and collapsed. The shed was 
already a heap of embers glow- 
ing fiercely. A nigger was being 
beaten near by. They said he 
had caused the fire in some way ; 
be that as it may, he was screech- 
ing most horribly. I saw him, 
later on, for several days, sitting 
in a bit of shade looking very 
sick and trying to recover him- 
self: afterwards he arose and 
went out and the wilderness 
without a sound took him into 
its bosom again. As I ap- 
proached the glow from the 
dark I found myself at the back 
of two men, talking. I heard 
the name of Kurtz pronounced, 
then the words, ' take advan- 
of this unfortunate acci- 
t.' One of the men was the 

anager. I wished him good 
evening. 'Did you ever see 
anything like it eh ? ' he said ; 
'it is incredible,' and walked 
off. The other man remained. 
He was a first - class agent, 
young, gentlemanly, a bit re- 
served, with a forked little beard 
and a hooked nose. He was 
stand - offish with the other 
agents. They on their side said 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 




he was the manager's spy upon 
them. As to me, I had hardly 
ever spoken to him before. We 
got into talk, and by -and -by 
we strolled away from the 
hissing ruins. Then he asked 
me to his room, which was in 
the main building of the station. 
He struck a match, and I per- 
ceived that this young aristocrat 
had not only a silver-mounted 
dressing-case but also a whole 
candle all to himself. Just at 
that time the manager was the 
only man supposed to have any 
right to candles. Native mats 
covered the clay walls ; a collec- 
tion of spears, assegais, shields, 
knives was hung up in trophies. 
The business intrusted to this 
fellow was the making of bricks 
so I had been informed ; but 
there wasn't a fragment of a 
brick anywhere in the station, 
and he had been there more 
than a year waiting. It seems 
he could not make bricks without 
something, I don't know what 
straw maybe. Anyways, it 
could not be found there, and as 
it was not likely to be sent from 
Europe, it did not appear clear 
to me what he was waiting for. 
An act of special creation per- 
haps. However, they were all 
waiting all the sixteen or 
twenty pilgrims of them for 
something ; and upon my word 
it did not seem an uncongenial 
occupation, from the way they 
took it, though the only thing 
that ever came to them was dis- 
ease as far as I could see. They 
beguiled the time by backbiting 
and intriguing against each 
other in a foolish kind of way. 
There was an air of plotting 
about that station, but nothing 
came of it, of course. It was as 
p 



214 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



unreal as everything else as the 
philanthropic pretence of the 
whole concern, as their talk, as 
their government, as their show 
of work. The only real feeling 
was a desire to get appointed to a 
trading-post where ivory was to 
be had, so that they could earn 
percentages. They intrigued 
and slandered and hated each 
other only on that account, but 
as to effectually lifting a little 
finger oh, no. By heavens ! 
there is something after all in 
the world allowing one man to 
steal a horse while another must 
not look at a halter. Steal a 
horse straight out. Very well. 
He has done it. Perhaps he 
can ride. Beastly, perhaps 
yet still effective. But there is 
a way of looking at a halter 
that would provoke the most 
charitable of saints into a kick. 
"I had no idea why he 
wanted to be sociable, but as 
we chatted in there it suddenly 
occurred to me the fellow was 
trying to get at something in 
fact, pumping me. He alluded 
constantly to Europe, to the 
people I was supposed to know 
there putting leading ques- 
tions as to my acquaintances in 
the sepulchral city, and so on. 
His little eyes glittered like 
mica discs with curiosity, 
though he tried to keep up a 
bit of superciliousness. At first 
I was astonished, but very soon 
I became also awfully curious 
to see what he would find out 
from me. I couldn't possibly 
imagine what I had in me to 
make it worth his while. His 
allusions were Chinese to me. 
It was very pretty to see how 
he baffled himself, for in truth 
my body was full of chills, and 



my head had nothing in it but 
that wretched steamboat busi- 
ness. It was evident he took 
me for a perfectly shameless 
prevaricator. At last he got 
angry, and, to conceal a move- 
ment of furious annoyance, he 
yawned. I rose. Then I no- 
ticed a small sketch in oils, on 
a panel, representing a woman, 
draped and blindfolded, carry- 
ing a lighted torch. The back- 
ground was sombre almost 
black. The movement of the 
woman was stately, and the 
effect of the torchlight on the 
face was sinister. 

" It arrested me, and he stood 
by, civilly holding a half -pint 
bottle of champagne (medical 
comforts) with the candle stuck 
in it. To my question he said 
Mr Kurtz had painted this in 
this very station more than a 
year ago while waiting for 
means to go to his trading-post. 
'Tell me, pray,' said I, 'who is 
this Mr Kurtz ? ' 

"'The chief of the Inner 
Station,' he answered in a short 
tone, looking away. ' Much 
obliged,' I said, laughing. ' And 
you are the brickmaker of the 
Central Station. Every one 
knows that.' He was silent 
for a while. ' He is a prodigy,' 
he said at last. ' He is an 
emissary of pity, and science, 
and progress, and devil knows 
what else. We want,' he be- 
gan to declaim suddenly, 'for 
the guidance of the cause in- 
trusted to us by Europe, so 
to speak, higher intelligence, 
wide sympathies, a single- 
ness of purpose.' 'Who says 
that?' I asked. 'Lots of 
them,' he replied. ' Some even 
write that ; and so he comes 



1899.' 



The Heart of Darkness. 



215 



here, a special being, as you 
ought to know.' 'Why ought 
I to know ? ' I interrupted, 
really surprised. He paid no 
attention. ' Yes. To-day he is 
chief of the best station, next 
year he will be assistant-man- 
ager, two years more and . . . 
but I daresay you know what 
he will be in two years' time. 
You are of the new gang the 
gang of virtue. The same peo- 
ple who sent him specially also 
recommended you. Oh, don't say 
no. I've my own eyes to trust.' 
Light dawned upon me. My 
dear aunt's influential acquaint- 
ances were producing an un- 
expected effect upon that young 
man. I nearly burst into a 
laugh. ' Do you read the Com- 
pany's confidential correspon- 
dence?' I asked. He hadn't 
a word to say. It was great 
fun. 'When Mr Kurtz,' I con- 
tinued severely, 'is General 
Manager, you won't have the 
opportunity.' 

"He blew the candle out 
suddenly, and we went outside. 
The moon had risen. Black 
figures strolled about listlessly, 
pouring water on the glow, 
whence proceeded a sound of 
hissing. Steam ascended in 
the moonlight ; the beaten nig- 
ger groaned somewhere. 'What 
a row the brute makes ! ' said 
the indefatigable man with the 
moustaches, appearing ftear us. 
'Serve him right. Transgres- 
sion punishment bang ! Piti- 
less, pitiless. That's the only 
way. This will prevent all 
future conflagrations. I was 
just telling the manager . . .' 
He noticed my companion, and 
became crestfallen all at once. 
'Not iii bed yet,' he said, with 



a kind of obsequious heartiness ; 
' it's so natural. Ha ! Danger 
agitation.' He vanished. I 
went on to the river-side, and 
the other followed me. I heard 
a scathing murmur at my ear, 
" Heap of muffs go to.' The 
pilgrims could be seen in knots 
gesticulating, discussing. Sev- 
eral had still their staves in 
their hands. I verily believe 
they took these sticks to bed 
with them. Beyond the fence 
the forest stood up spectrally 
in the moonlight, and through 
the dim stir, through the faint 
sounds of that lamentable court- 
yard, the silence of the land 
went home to one's very heart, 
its mystery, its greatness, the 
amazing reality of its concealed 
life. The hurt nigger moaned 
feebly somewhere near by, and 
then fetched a deep sigh that 
made me mend my pace away 
from there. I felt a hand in- 
troducing itself under my arm. 
'My dear sir,' said the fellow, 
'I don't want to be misunder- 
stood, and especially by you, 
who will see Mr Kurtz long 
before I can have that pleasure. 
I wouldn't like him to get a 
false idea of my disposition. . . .' 
" I let him run on, this papier- 
mache Mephistopheles, and it 
seemed to me that if I tried 
I could poke my forefinger 
through him, and find nothing 
inside but a little loose dirt, 
maybe. He, don't you see, had 
been planning to be assistant- 
manager by-and-by under the 
present man, and I could see 
that the coming of that Kurtz 
had upset them both not a little. 
He talked precipitately, and I 
did not try to stop him. I had 
my shoulders against the wreck 



216 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



of my steamer, hauled up on 
the slope like a carcass of some 
big river animal. The smell of 
mud, of primeval mud, by Jove ! 
was in my nostrils, the high 
stillness of primeval forest was 
before my eyes ; there were 
shiny patches on the black 
creek. The moon had spread 
over everything a thin layer 
of silver over the rank grass, 
over the mud, upon the wall 
of matted vegetation standing 
higher than the wall of a temple, 
over the great river I could see 
through a sombre gap glittering, 
glittering, as it flowed broadly 
by without a murmur. All 
this was great, expectant, mute, 
while the man jabbered about 
himself. I wondered whether 
the stillness on the face of the 
immensity looking at us two 
were meant as an appeal or as 
a menace. What were we who 
had strayed in here? Could 
we handle that dumb thing, or 
would it handle us ? I felt how 
big, how confoundedly big, was 
that thing that couldn't talk, 
and perhaps was deaf as well. 
What was in there? I could 
see a little ivory coming out 
from there, and I had heard 
Mr Kurtz was in there. I had 
heard enough about it too 
God knows! Yet somehow it 
didn't bring any image with it 
no more than if I had been told 
an angel or a fiend was in 
there. I believed it in the same 
way one of you might believe 
there are inhabitants in the 
planet Mars. I knew once a 
Scotch sailmaker who was cer- 
tain, dead sure, there were 
people in Mars. If you asked 
him for some idea how they 
looked and behaved, he would 



get shy and mutter something 
about 'walking on all -fours.' 
If you as much as smiled, he 
would though a man of sixty 
offer to fight you. I would 
not have gone so far as to fight 
for Kurtz, but I went for him 
near enough to a lie. You know 
I hate, detest, and can't bear a 
lie, not because I am : straighter 
than the rest of us, but simply 
because it appals me. There 
is a taint of death, a flavour 
of mortality in lies, which is 
exactly what I hate and detest 
in the world what I want to 
forget. It makes me miserable 
and sick, like biting something 
rotten would do. Temperament, 
I suppose. Well, I went near 
enough to it by letting the 
young fool there believe any- 
thing he liked to imagine as 
to my influence in Europe. I 
became in an instant as much 
of a pretence as the rest of the 
bewitched pilgrims. This sim- 
ply because I had a notion it 
somehow would be of help to 
that Kurtz whom at the time 
I did not see you understand. 
He was just a word for me. I 
did not see the man in the name 
any more than you do. Do you 
see him ? Do you see the story ? 
Do you see anything ? It seems 
to me I am trying to tell you a 
dream making a vain attempt, 
because -no relation of a dream 
can convey the dream-sensation, 
that commingling of absurdity, 
surprise, and bewilderment in 
a tremor of struggling revolt, 
that notion of being captured 
by the incredible which is of 
the very essence of dreams. ..." 

He was silent for a while. 

"... No, it is impossible ; 
it is impossible to convey the 



1899.' 



The Heart of Darkness. 



217 



life-sensation of any given epoch 
of one's existence, that which 
makes its truth, its meaning 
its subtle and penetrating 
essence. It is impossible. We 
live, as we dream alone. ..." 

He paused again as if re- 
flecting, then added 

"Of course in this you fel- 
lows see more than I could 
then. You see me, whom you 
know. ..." 

It had become so pitch dark 
that we listeners could hardly 
see one another. For a long 
time already he, sitting apart, 
had been no more to us than a 
voice. There was not a word 
from anybody. The others 
might have been asleep, but I 
was awake. I listened, I listened 
on the 'watch for the sentence, 
for the word, that would give 
me the clue to the faint un- 
easiness inspired by this narra- 
tive that seemed to shape itself 
without human lips in the heavy 
night-air of the river. 

"... Yes I let him run 
on," Marlow began again, " and 
think what he pleased about the 
powers that were behind me. I 
did! And there was nothing 
behind me ! There was nothing 
but that wretched, old, mangled 
steamboat I was leaning against, 
while he talked fluently about 
' the necessity for every man to 
get on.' 'And when one comes 
out here, you conceive, it is not 
to gaze at the moon.' Mr 
Kurtz was a 'universal genius,' 
but even a genius would find it 
easier to work with ' adequate 
tools intelligent men.' He 
did not make bricks why, there 
was a physical impossibility in 
the way as I was well aware ; 
and if he did secretarial work 



for the manager, it was because 
'no sensible man rejects wan- 
tonly the confidence of his 
superiors.' Did I see it? I 
saw it. What more did I 
want? What I really wanted 
was rivets, by heaven ! Rivets. 
To get on with the work to 
stop the hole. Rivets I wanted. 
There were cases of them down 
at the coast cases piled up 
burst split ! You kicked a 
loose rivet at every second step 
in that station yard on the hill- 
side. Rivets had rolled into the 
grove of death. You could fill 
your pockets with rivets for the 
trouble of stooping down and 
there wasn't one rivet to be 
found where it was wanted. 
We had plates that would do, 
but nothing to fasten them with. 
And every week the messenger, 
a lone negro, letter -bag on 
shoulder and staff in hand, left 
our station for the coast. And 
several times a week a coast 
caravan came in with trade 
goods, ghastly glazed calico 
that made you shudder only to 
look at it, glass beads value 
about a penny a quart, con- 
founded spotted cotton hand- 
kerchiefs. And no rivets. Three 
carriers could have brought all 
that was wanted to set that 
steamboat afloat. 

" He was becoming confiden- 
tial now, but I fancy my unre- 
sponsive attitude must have 
exasperated him at last, for 
he judged it necessary to in- 
form me he feared neither God 
nor devil, let alone any mere 
man. I said I could see that 
very well, but what I wanted 
was a certain quantity of rivets 
and rivets were what really 
Mr Kurtz wanted, if he had 



218 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



only known it. Now letters 
went to the coast every week. 
. . . ' My dear sir,' he cried, ' I 
write from dictation.' I de- 
manded rivets. There was a 
way for an intelligent man. 
He changed his manner ; be- 
came very cold, and suddenly 
began to talk about a hippo- 
potamus ; wondered whether 
sleeping in the steamer (I stuck 
to my salvage night and day) I 
wasn't disturbed. There was 
an old hippo that had the bad 
habit of getting out on the 
bank and roaming at night 
over the station grounds. The 
pilgrims used to turn out in a 
body and empty every rifle 
they could lay hands on at 
him. Some even had sat up 
o' nights for him. All this 
energy was wasted, though. 
' That animal has a charmed 
life,' he said ; ' but you can say 
this only of brutes in this coun- 
try. No man you apprehend 
me ? no man here bears a 
charmed life.' He stood there 
for a moment in the moonlight 
with his delicate hooked nose 
set a little askew, and his mica 
eyes glittering without a wink. 
Then, with a curt good-night, 
he strode off. I could see he 
was disturbed and considerably 
puzzled, which made me feel 
more hopeful than I had been 
for days. It was a great com- 
fort to turn from that chap to 
my influential friend, the bat- 
tered, twisted, ruined, tin -pot 
steamboat. I clambered on 
board. She rang under my 
feet like an empty Huntley and 
Palmer biscuit-tin kicked along 
a gutter ; she was nothing so 
solid in make, and rather less 
pretty in shape, but I had ex- 



pended enough hard work on 
her to make me love her. No 
influential friend would have 
served me better. She had 
given me a chance to come out 
a bit to find out what I could 
do. No, I don't like work. 
I had rather laze about and 
think of all the fine things that 
can be done. I don't like work 
no man does but I like what 
is in the work, the chance to 
find yourself. Your own reality 
for yourself, not for others 
what no other man can ever 
know. They can only see the 
mere show, and never can tell 
what it really means. 

"I was not surprised to see 
somebody sitting aft, on the 
deck, with his legs dangling 
over the mud. - You see I 
rather chummed with the few 
mechanics there were in that 
station, whom the other pil- 
grims naturally despised on 
account of their imperfect man- 
ners, I suppose. This was the 
foreman a boiler -maker by 
trade a good worker. He was 
a lank, bony, yellow-faced man, 
with big intense eyes. His as- 
pect was worried, and his head 
was as bald as the palm of my 
hand ; but his hair in falling 
seemed to have stuck to his 
chin, and had prospered in the 
new locality, for his beard hung 
down to his waist. He was a 
widower with six young children 
(he had left them in charge of a 
sister of his to come out there), 
and the passion of his life was 
pigeon-flying. He was an en- 
thusiast and a connoisseur. He 
raved about pigeons. After 
work hours he used sometimes 
to come over from his hut for 
a talk about his children ancl 



1899.] 



The Heart of Darkness. 



219 







his pigeons. At work, when 
he had to crawl in the mud 
under the bottom of the steam- 
boat, he would tie up that beard 
of his in a kind of white ser- 
viette he brought for the pur- 
pose. It had loops to go over 
his ears. In the evening he 
could be seen squatted on the 
bank rinsing that wrapper in 
the creek with great care, then 
spreading it solemnly on a bush 
to dry. 

" I slapped him on the back 
and shouted 'We shall have 
rivets ! ' He scrambled to his 
feet exclaiming ' No ! Rivets ! ' 
as though he couldn't believe 
his ears. Then in a low voice, 
' You . . . eh ? ' I don't know 
why we behaved like lunatics. 
I put my finger to the side 
of my nose and nodded mys- 
teriously. ' Good for you ! ' he 
cried, snapped his fingers above 
his head, lifting one foot. I 
tried a jig. We capered on 
the iron deck. A frightful 
clatter came out of that hulk, 
and the virgin forest on the 
other bank of the creek sent 
it back in a thundering roll 
upon the sleeping station. It 
ust have made some of 
he pilgrims sit up in. their 
hovels. A dark figure ob- 
scured the lighted doorway of 
the manager's hut, vanished, 
then, a second or so after, the 
doorway itself vanished too. 
We stopped, and the silence 
driven away by the stamping 
of our feet flowed back again 
from the recesses of the land. 
The great wall of vegetation, 
an exuberant and entangled 
mass of trunks, branches, leaves, 
boughs, festoons, motionless in 
the moonlight, was like a riot- 



ing invasion of soundless life, 
a rolling wave of plants, piled 
up, crested, ready to topple 
over the creek, to sweep every 
little man of us out of his little 
existence. And it moved not. 
A deadened burst of mighty 
splashes and snorts reached us 
from afar, as though an ichthyo- 
saurus had been taking a bath 
of glitter in the great river. 
'After all,' said the boiler- 
maker in a reasonable tone, 
'why shouldn't we get the 
rivets.' Why not, indeed ! I 
did not know of any reason 
why we shouldn't. ' They'll 
come in three weeks,' I said, 
confidently. 

"But they didn't. Instead 
came an invasion, an infliction, 
a visitation. It came in sec- 
tions during the next three 
weeks, each section headed by 
a donkey carrying a white man 
in new clothes and tan shoes, 
bowing from that elevation 
right and left to the impressed 
pilgrims. A quarrelsome band 
of footsore sulky niggers trod on 
the heels of the donkey. A lot 
of tents, camp-stools, tin boxes, 
white cases, brown bales would 
be shot down in the court- 
yard, and the air of mystery 
would deepen a little over the 
muddle of the station. Five 
such instalments came, with 
their absurd air of disorderly 
flight with the loot of innumer- 
able outfit shops and provision 
stores, that, one would think, 
they were lugging, after a raid, 
into the wilderness for equit- 
able division. It was an in- 
extricable mess of things decent 
in themselves but that human 
folly made look like the spoils 
of thieving. 



220 



The Heart of Darkness. 



[Feb. 



"This devoted band called 
itself the Eldorado Expedition, 
and I believe they were sworn 
to secrecy. Their talk, how- 
ever, was the talk of sordid 
buccaneers. It was reckless 
without hardihood, greedy with- 
out audacity, and cruel without 
courage. There was not an 
atom of foresight or of serious 
intention in the whole batch of 
them, and they did not seem 
aware these things are wanted 
for the work of the world. 
Their desire was to tear 
treasure out of the bowels of 
the land with no more moral 
purpose at the back of it than 
there is in burglars breaking 
into a safe. Who paid for the 
noble enterprise I don't know ; 
but the uncle of our manager 
was leader of that lot. 

" In exterior he resembled a 
butcher in a poor neighbour- 
hood, and his eyes had a look of 



sleepy cunning. He carried his 
fat paunch with ostentation on 
his short legs, and all the time 
his gang infested the station 
spoke to no one but his nephew. 
You could see these two roam- 
ing about all day long with 
their heads close together in an 
everlasting confab. 

"I had given up worrying 
myself about the rivets. One's 
capacity for that kind of folly 
is more limited than you would 
suppose. I said Hang ! and 
let things slide. I had plenty 
of time for meditation, and now 
and then I would give some 
thought to Kurtz. I wasn't 
very curious about him. No. 
Still, I was curious to see 
whether this man, who had come 
out equipped with moral ideas 
of some sort, would climb to 
the top after all, and how he 
would set about his work when 
there." 



(To be continued.) 



1899/ 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



221 



SEVENTY YEARS AT WESTMINSTER. 



BY 



THE RIGHT HON. SIB JOHN B. MOWBBAY, BABT., M.P. 



II. 



I TAKE tip the thread of my 
reminiscences of the House of 
Commons where I left off in my 
previous article, 1 at the end of 
the elections after the China 
Dissolution in 1857. The New 
Parliament met, on April 30. 
The star of Palmerston was in 
the ascendant. Bright and 
Cobden were conspicuous by 
their absence. Sir Stafford 
Northcote, retiring from Dud- 
ley, had been unsuccessful in 
securing the suffrages of North 
Devon. Lord Cavendish, after- 
wards Lord Hartington, now 
Duke of Devonshire, and Lord 
Althorp, now Earl Spencer, 
made their first appearance, 
and were welcomed as repre- 
sentatives of historic names and 
Whig traditions. Mr Evelyn 
Denison was chosen Speaker. 
There was no great thirst for 
legislation. The Royal Speech 
at the close of the session, 
indeed, spoke of the many Acts 
of great importance which had 
been passed, but there was only 
one great legislative enactment 
on which the Government could 
congratulate itself, the Act 
establishing a Divorce Court. 

The bill was introduced in 
the Lords. It came on in the 
Commons for second reading on 
July 30, and became the law of 



the land on August 28. -It did 
not raise any party question, 
and the issue was never doubt- 
ful. Mr Gladstone and Mr 
Disraeli were united in opposi- 
tion, while Mr Walpole and 
Mr Henley were divided, the 
former supporting, the latter 
opposing, the bill. But the 
proceedings in Committee were 
very animated. We had a suc- 
cession of single combats in the 
Homeric style between the 
Attorney -General, Sir Richard 
Bethell, and Mr Gladstone, 
which were only equalled in 
briskness by those of 1866 be- 
tween Mr Lowe and Mr Glad- 
stone about the Trojan Horse. 
The Attorney-General speaking 
at the end of the Treasury 
Bench and Mr Gladstone at the 
corner seat on the second bench 
below the gangway were in 
close contact, and the latter 
was described by the former as 
" boiling over with arguments," 
and " his eloquence exuding 
from every pore." The At- 
torney-General was supercilious 
and amusing, while Mr Glad- 
stone gave us a striking illus- 
tration of unflinching courage 
in fighting a lost battle, of his 
wonderful power of debate, and 
of his intense and earnest 
religious conviction. In vain 



See ' Blackwood's Magazine' for July 1898, 



222 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



he complained that the bill was 
pushed forward with unpre- 
cedented levity. In the Upper 
House the Duke of Norfolk, as 
representative of the Roman 
Communion, had offered his 
determined opposition. But the 
Lords Spiritual as a body, with 
the exception of Bishop Wilber- 
force, were less vigilant in their 
criticism than might have been 
expected with regard to a bill 
that proposed changes of such 
vast importance in the law of 
Church and State. 

Parliament was called to- 
gether again on December 3, 
and passed a bill to indemnify 
the Bank of England for hav- 
ing issued notes in excess of the 
amount authorised by the Act 
of 1844. It then adjourned 
until February 4, 1858. The 
Indian Mutiny and the account 
of the enormities committed at 
Delhi and Cawnpore had pain- 
fully absorbed the minds of all 
during the autumn, and our 
Indian Empire seemed shaken 
to its very foundations. The 
affairs of India, therefore, oc- 
cupied the most prominent 
place in the Royal Speech ; the 
attention of Parliament being 
next called to the laws which 
regulated the representation of 
the people. But meanwhile 
another matter arose which de- 
manded the prompt action of 
the British Government, and 
produced an unexpected result 
by its consequences on the Min- 
istry of Lord Palmerston. In 
the middle of January, Europe 
was shocked by the startling 
intelligence of the attempt to 
assassinate the Emperor Na- 
poleon. Some of the conspirators 
had lived under the shelter of 



our laws, and had abused the 
asylum which England offered 
to political refugees by going 
forth from our shores to take 
part in these atrocious acts. 
Irritation sprang up between 
the two countries. The French 
colonels addressed the Emperor, 
denouncing the English nation. 
Count Walewski made a com- 
munication to the English Gov- 
ernment. On February 9 Lord 
Palmerston introduced a bill to 
amend the law relating to con- 
spiracy to murder, which Dis- 
raeli and the Tories supported. 
Leave was given to introduce it 
by a large majority Ayes 299, 
Noes 99. The second reading 
came on on the 19th. Mr Milner 
Gibson moved a resolution from 
the Government side of the 
House expressing regret that 
the Government, before intro- 
ducing the bill, " had not felt it 
to be their duty to make some 
reply to the important despatch 
received from the French Gov- 
ernment, dated Paris, January 
20, 1858." This amendment 
received the support of Mr Dis- 
raeli and of Mr Gladstone, and 
of the majority of our party. 
Mr Henley said that the resolu- 
tion was "true as Gospel: 
how could any man vote against 
it ? " In my view, Lord Palmer- 
ston was right in condemning 
it as an "insidious amendment." 
It was unsound, if not unpre- 
cedented, intended to destroy 
the bill, and to defeat by a side- 
wind the decision of the House 
on the previous stage. The 
House carried Mr Milner Gib- 
son's amendment, and so de- 
stroyed the bill by a majority 
of 19, Ayes 215, Noes 234. 
I voted in the minority with 



1899.] 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



223 



Lord Palmerston. After a lapse 
of forty years I see no reason 
whatever for regretting my 
vote, and I should be prepared 
to do again, after deliberation, 
what I then had to do on the 
spur of the moment. 

The result of the vote was 
to put an end to Lord Palmer- 
ston's Government. I had the 
honour of holding a post in the 
ministry of Lord Derby which 
succeeded it. The manner of 
my coming into office was 
somewhat remarkable. The 
critical division took place on 
the Friday. I went out of 
town on the Saturday, believ- 
ing that my prospects of hold- 
ing office, if I ever had any, 
were at an end. I noticed with 
some amazement my name ap- 
pearing in Monday's ' Times ' 
among the conjectural appoint- 
ments as Under Secretary for 
the Home Office. I was at the 
House of Commons through the 
week, and on Friday the 26th I 
heard all the writs moved. The 
Government was practically 
completed. On Friday night I 
left town again, and did not 
return until the following Wed- 
nesday, when on going into the 
Carlton I met Disraeli on the 
steps. He said to me, "Have 
you answered Lord Derby's 
letter yet?" "What letter?" 
I replied; and then he said, 
"There is a high post for you, 
and you will be sworn of the 
Privy Council. You will have 
to be re-elected ; Lord Derby is 
waiting for a reply." I said 
that I had not got the letter, 
had not heard of any. On 
going into the Club and asking 
the hall -porter if there were 
any letters for me, he pulled 



out of the pigeon-hole Lord 
Derby's communication marked 
"Private and Immediate," with 
Lord Derby's name on the en- 
velope. It seems almost in- 
credible that this could have 
happened at the Carlton, during 
a Ministerial crisis, but so it 
was. I opened the letter, which 
ran as follows : 

"ST JAMES'S SQUARE, 
Febry. 26th, 1858. 

" DEAR SIR, The Government ap- 
pointments being now nearly com- 
plete, may I request that you will 
do me the favour of calling here at 
as early an hour to-morrow between 
10 and 1 as may suit your conveni- 
ence. I have reserved an appoint- 
ment which I am enabled to offer to 
your acceptance, which I think might 
not be unacceptable to you, and 
for which you are particularly well 
qualified. I ought to add that the 
acceptance will involve the necessity 
of vacating your seat for Durham, 
which, however, if your acceptance of 
office be locally approved, can hardly 
raise any difficulty. I am, dear sir, 
yours faithfully, DERBY." 

I went to St James's Square 
instantly, saw Lord Derby, told 
him that I had that moment 
only received his letter, and 
found that the post was that 
of Judge Advocate-General. I 
said that I did not feel I 
had any claim to the appoint- 
ment, I had voted against the 
party the other night. But he 
replied that that did not matter 
it was not a party question ; 
and would I accept the ap- 
pointment? I replied, "Yes, 
certainly." As to the seat, I 
believed that that would be 
arranged all right. After com- 
munication in all proper quar- 
ters as to the prospects of my 
re-election, and after receipt of 
assurances as to the safety of 



224 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



my seat, I went to Durham, 
was welcomed with the utmost 
cordiality by all my constit- 
uents, including many promi- 
nent Liberals, was re-elected 
without opposition, returned to 
London, and took my seat on 
March 18. 

The duties of Judge Advo- 
cate-General, I may say here, 
included the revisal of courts- 
martial. All cases were re- 
ferred to the office, and the 
proceedings of general courts- 
martial were submitted to the 
Queen in private audience. It 
was thus my special privilege 
to be honoured with such 
audiences at frequent intervals ; 
and I learnt to realise to the 
full that, as Sir William Hayter 
had told me, when congratu- 
lating me on my acceptance of 
office, I should find the audi- 
ences with the Queen the most 
pleasant part of the duties of 
the post. The gracious kind- 
ness of the Sovereign must ever 
leave a most profound impres- 
sion on all who have been 
privileged to approach her. 

On April 6 I went to Windsor 
to be sworn of the Privy Council. 
We had a special train: Lord 
Derby, the Lord Chancellor 
(Chelmsford), Lord Salisbury, 
the father of the present Prime 
Minister, Lords Hardwicke, 
Stanley, and John Manners ; 
Mr Henley and Mr Walpole ; 
the Earl of Donoughmore, and 
myself, to be sworn in Privy 
Councillors ; the Earl of Sefton 
and Lord Sudeley to be sworn 
in Lord Lieutenants. At the 
castle we found Lord Malmes- 
bury and Lord De La Warr, 
and had luncheon, and waited 
in an anteroom until the doors 



were opened. The ceremonial 
was impressive. The Queen 
was seated at the end of a long 
table in a spacious apartment. 
The Prince Consort sat at her 
right. Chairs were ranged all 
down on either side. The Lord 
Chamberlain and two Lords-in- 
waiting, in Windsor uniform, 
with wands, were seated at the 
farther end of the room, behind 
the Queen. 

The Ministers went in, and 
the doors were closed and 
opened again in a minute. The 
Clerk of the Council called on 
Lord Donoughmore and Mr 
Mowbray to come in. We were 
ushered up the room bowing, 
and knelt on two cushions be- 
fore her Majesty, took the oaths 
of allegiance and supremacy 
and the Privy Councillors' oath, 
and each of us kissed the Queen's 
hand. The Prince shook hands 
with us on rising, and so did all- 
the Privy Councillors, each get- 
ting up to do so in turn. We 
were then ordered to take our 
seats at the table, which we did. 
Lords Sefton and Sudeley were 
then called in, advanced, knelt, 
and took the oaths of allegiance 
and supremacy alone, kissed 
hands, and were told, " You may 
retire," and then straightway 
bowed out, not being made Privy 
Councillors. Lord Salisbury as 
Lord President read to the 
Queen several proposed Orders 
in Council; to which her Majesty 
said, "Approved." The Queen 
rose. The Lord Chancellor, 
being new to his work, expected 
that she would retire, whereas 
her Majesty expected us to re- 
tire; then we had a deal of 
laughing, and the Queen seemed 
greatly amused. Ultimately 



1899." 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



225 



we all backed out. The cere- 
mony took less time than we 
expected. Lord Derby, the 
Lord Chancellor, Lord Sefton, 
and several of us walked to the 
station. Lord Sefton remarked 
to Lord Derby, "We shall be at 
Paddington before my brougham 
will be there." Lord Derby re- 
joined, "Walk, my boy, walk; 
it will do you good." On which 
the Chancellor observed, "No, 
my Lord ; he will say to you 

' How blest is he who ne'er consents 
By ill advice to walk ; ' " 

a remark that was very appro- 
priate, as the day was stormy, 
the path muddy, and Lord Sef- 
ton was attired in light laven- 
der trousers and thin patent- 
leather boots. And so "the 
Lords of the Council " returned 
to town. 

The affairs of India absorbed 
the attention of Parliament 
throughout the session. On Feb- 
ruary 18 Lord Palmerston had 
obtained leave, by a majority of 
145, to bring in a bill (India 
No. 1) to transfer the govern- 
ment of our great Indian Em- 
pire from the East India Com- 
pany to the Crown. That bill 
never reappeared, for Lord 
Palmerston's Government fell. 
On March 26 Mr Disraeli ob- 
tained leave to bring in a bill 
(No. 2), which was said to be 
Lord Ellenborough's scheme. 
He spoke of the emotion he felt 
when he proposed to abolish 
that famous corporation of the 
East India Company, which, 
" like Venice, had left a legacy 
of glory to mankind." He pro- 
posed that there should be a 
Secretary of State for India 
to preside over a Council of 




eighteen persons, nine nomi- 
nated by the Crown and nine 
chosen by popular election 
four by a special constituency 
created under the bill, and five 
by London, Manchester, Liver- 
pool, Glasgow, and Belfast. 
The proposal was not favour- 
ably received by the House. 
Mr Roebuck declared that from 
beginning to end the proposal 
was a sham; and Mr Bright, 
while disclaiming any hostility 
to the new Government, said 
that the proposal whereby five 
large constituencies should elect 
councillors savoured of claptrap. 
On April 26 came another stage 
leading up to the introduction 
of another bill (No. 3), when Mr 
Disraeli moved that the House 
should go into Committee to 
consider certain Resolutions 
which the Government had laid 
on the table. Lord Palmerston 
had amused the whole House 
by saying of Bill No. 2 : "Peo- 
ple met one another in the 
street and one laughed, and 
the other laughed, and every- 
body laughed. ' What are you 
laughing at ? ' said one. ' Why, 
at the India Bill, to be sure. 
What are you laughing at ? ' 
'Why, I was laughing at the 
India Bill.' That was the re- 
ception it met with out of 
doors." Mr Gladstone remon- 
strated against the Resolutions, 
and protested against attempts 
at legislation which he did not 
believe would be attended with 
any satisfactory result. Lord 
John Russell favoured proceed- 
ing by Resolution with a view 
to legislation during the then 
existing session. The House 
agreed to the motion without 
division. But when the day 



226 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



came for going into Committee, 
on April 30, Lord Harry Vane 
moved to postpone legislation 
to another year. That was re- 
jected by 447 to 57. On going 
into Committee on the Resolu- 
tions on May 7, Mr Edward 
Ellice, in a speech which Lord 
John Russell described as being 
one-half of it too late and the 
other half too soon, and as a 
member of what Mr Disraeli 
called a party of confusion, en- 
endeavoured to obstruct the 
progress of the Resolutions; 
but ultimately they were all 
agreed to, and the Government 
of India Bill (No. 3) was read 
a first time on June 17. It 
passed our House on July 8, 
with the cordial and hearty 
assent of Lord Palmerston and 
Lord John Russell, and the 
thanks of Mr Disraeli to both 
sides of the House for the can- 
dour and patience with which 
they had assisted the Govern- 
ment in the progress of the 
measure. The bill received the 
Royal Assent on August 2. 

But in the middle of the dis- 
cussion of the Resolutions a 
week was lost in a great party 
fight. On May 14 a vote of 
censure was moved in both 
Houses in the Lords by Lord 
Shaftesbury, in the Commons 
by Mr Cardwell censuring the 
Government for having made 
public a despatch of Lord Ellen- 
borough condemning the con- 
duct of Lord Canning, the 
Governor-General of India, in 
issuing a proclamation to the 
King of Oude. In the Lords 
the vote of censure was defeated 
only by a majority of nine, and 
that by moving the previous 
question, Contents i.e., for 



vote of censure 158 ; Not Con- 
tents i.e., for previous question 
167. In the Commons several 
nights were consumed in debate 
until Mr Bright said that Mr 
Cardwell had raked together a 
great many small things to 
swell up a great case, and he 
characterised the speech of the 
Solicitor - General, Sir Hugh 
Cairns, in reply as the cleverest 
logic and the most complete 
and exhaustive argument, and 
as a conclusive answer to the 
charge against the Govern- 
ment. And thus the debate 
might have ended. Lord Ellen- 
borough at an early stage had 
rendered an attack on the 
whole Cabinet unnecessary by 
submitting his resignation to 
the Queen and taking upon 
himself the entire responsibility 
for the act. But the object 
was to destroy the Government, 
or at any rate to force a dis- 
solution. There is no doubt 
that at one time things looked 
very black for us. As the 
debate progressed, however, the 
prospects of the Government 
improved daily, until at length 
on May 21, when the division 
was expected to take place, the 
great faction fight ended in a 
fiasco. Mr Clay rose and asked 
Mr Cardwell to withdraw his 
motion. Mr Cardwell declined. 
Mr Tom Duncombe, the Radical 
member for Finsbury, said that 
"he intended to vote for the 
motion, and if Mr Cardwell 
held him to that pledge, per- 
haps he ought to be held to it : 
as it was, all he had to do was 
to take off his hat and wish 
him good night, and leave him 
to the tender mercies of hon. 
members opposite." Questions 



1899.] 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



227 



were asked in all parts of the 
House, by all sorts of people, of 
all sorts of people. The merri- 
ment of the Ministerialists be- 
came rather boisterous when 
Lord John Kussell moved up 
from below the ganway to take 
his seat next Lord Palmerston 
on the front opposition bench 
for a few minutes' conversa- 
tion. The pious aspiration of 
an eminent ex-law officer had 
evidently been realised, "These 
two old men must be 
brought together." At last Mr 
Cardwell said it was his desire 
to do what he could not do in the 
early part of the evening, and 
to act in accordance with what 
appeared to be the general feel- 
ing of the House, and to with- 
draw his motion. Mr Glad- 
stone approved of the propriety 
of that course, and Mr Disraeli, 
while assenting to it, stated that 
it was not because the Govern- 
ment shrank from going to a 
vote that he did so. Mr Bright, 
while admitting that the House 
had arrived at a conclusion 
which he thought would excite 
the amusement and perhaps the 
ridicule of the public, implored 
every man in the House to 
return to the consideration of 
the Resolutions on the India 
Bill with the object of passing 
the best Resolutions and the 
best bill in the shortest possible 
time which the intelligence of 
the House could devise. And 
so the " Cabal " came to an end, 
and the House, which expected 
to sit to a late hour, went home 
to dinner before eight. The 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
radiant from his triumph, made 
a speech in the following week 
at Slough, and descanted to a 



sympathetic audience on the 
series of " dissolving views " 
which had afforded so much 
delight and amusement to the 
House. 

One personal incident of the 
session deserves special notice. 
Sir William Fraser in his book, 
'Disraeli and his Day,' states 
that Disraeli only laughed once 
in the House of Commons. It 
occurred on May 4. I can re- 
member the incident well. Mr 
Gladstone had made a long and 
impassioned speech in favour 
of the union of the two Prin- 
cipalities of Wallachia and Mol- 
davia, in the course of which he 
had drawn a glowing picture of 
the virtues of these representa- 
tives of the "ancient Dacians." 
Mr Disraeli, in opposing the 
motion, pointed out that the 
probable result would be the 
extinction of the independence 
of these interesting people, and 
went on to say that the only 
thing left would be the remorse 
which all would feel, " and which 
would be painted with admir- 
able eloquence by the rhetori- 
cian of the day." Mr Gladstone 
in reply said that the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer had lavished 
compliments upon the rhetori- 
cian of the day, and that he 
would not be guilty of the af- 
fected modesty of pretending to 
be ignorant that that designa- 
tion was intended for himself. 
Mr Disraeli interrupted him with 
the remark, "I beg your pardon, 
I really did not mean that." 
Mr Disraeli sat down with a 
subdued and satisfied smile that 
told of his enjoyment. Mr 
Gladstone's face expressed a- 
mazement and indignation even 
more strongly than when he 



228 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



proceeded with his speech and 
condemned the "sesquipedalian 
words and inflated language" 
of the Chancellor of the Ex- 
chequer. I was in a position to 
watch closely both right hon. 
gentlemen, and to observe the 
smile of one and the wrath of 
the other; for I was standing 
by the Speaker's chair, and, 
looking down the House, was 
able to see the countenances of 
both. 

On July 24 her Majesty's 
Ministers enjoyed a whitebait 
dinner at Greenwich. Mr 
Whiteside was in the chair, and 
by his humorous and happy 
speeches contributed greatly to 
the hilarity of the day. The 
silver spoon, the prize for good 
conduct in having scored the 
largest number of divisions, was 
awarded to me. The wooden 
spoon went to Sir John Paking- 
ton, who had been in the fewest 
divisions, but who appeared in- 
capable of tolerating a harmless 
joke. Lord Malmesbury says 
that Lord Derby proposed Sir 
John Pakington and the wooden 
spoons of old England. This 
may account for Sir John's 
anger ; but that toast was prob- 
ably only suggested sotto voce, 
and was not given from the 
chair, and so did not reach my 
end of the table. 

In August I went to Cher- 
bourg to witness the ceremonial 
at the completion of the break- 
water and the reception of the 
Queen by the Emperor and Em- 
press, particulars of which are 
narrated in the following letter 
to my mother : 

"MORTIMER, Aug. 8, 1858. 
"The rendezvous on Tuesday was 
at Southampton. Dinner on board 



thePeraatS. We sailed about 4.30, 
reached Cherbourg at 11.15. We 
went in the afternoon to see the 
arrival of the Emperor and the in- 
auguration of the railway, the engines 
blessed by the priests and archbishop 
with holy water, &c. ; returned to our 
boat to see the Queen arrive about 6, 
when we had a fine sight of the salute 
from all the guns of the forts on land, 
on the breakwater, and from the men- 
of-war lying in the harbour, which 
was very grand. In the evening the 
ships were illuminated, and the Em- 
peror went off in his beautiful barge 
to pay a visit to H.M. Thursday we 
chartered a little steamer for our party 
to move about the harbour and to go 
to and fro to the shore, from which 
we were anchored about a mile off. 
The harbour presented the most 
beautiful sight, perhaps 250 to 300 
vessels of various kinds all draped 
with flags besides numbers of small 
boats. We contributed the greater 
part of the show, for I daresay there 
were 70 or 80 English yachts, and 
they said not more than 2 French. 
Indeed as a naval display on the part 
of the French it was eclipsed by our 
muster of men-of-war, frigates, 
yachts, and steamers of all kinds. I 
should say that 3 out of 4 vessels you 
saw were English. Thursday was 
spent in various trips about the har- 
bour, in seeing the Emperor and 
Empress off to meet the Queen at the 
arsenal and conduct her to a dejeuner 
at the Prefecture. In the afternoon 
we were in the arsenal (which was 
closed to the general public while the 
Emperor and the Queen and the whole 
party walked about), and we were of 
course quite close to them and saw 
them all well. Both the Emperor 
and the Empress were looking well. 
The latter has gained flesh since she 
was in England three years ago, and 
has retained her beauty. The Prince 
of Wales was one of the party in his 
Highland uniform. After leaving 
the arsenal the Emperor conducted 
the Queen to her barge, and the 
English party went off to the royal 
yacht and we afterwards to the Pera. 
In the evening the Emperor came on 
board the Bretagne (his admiral's ship) 
and entertained the Queen at dinner. 
The whole fleet was brilliantly illu- 
minated, as was the breakwater for 



1899.] 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



229 



three miles long. There was a grand 
display of fireworks from the forts 
and the royal yachts. On Friday 
morning we kept hovering about the 
royal yacht and witnessed the affec- 
tionate partings of all the royal 
personages, the Queen kissing the 
Emperor again and again ; and after 
seeing the Emperor go on board the 
Bre'tagne we followed the Queen out 
to the entrance of the harbour and 
gave her a parting cheer. We spent 
the afternoon in the town and sailed 
yesterday morning. Some of the 
party remained behind to witness the 
letting the water into the basin and 
to go to the ball, but after a division 
of about 48 to 30 we carried it to go 
home. We had altogether about 96 
on board. Two Peers, about 85 mem- 
bers of the H. of C., and the Deputy 
Serjeant- at- Arms, Speaker's Chaplain, 
Secretary, &c. We had a splendid 
ship, and there never was anything 
more comfortable. I am very glad to 
have seen Cherbourg ; it is a most 
formidable place, at present only for 
defence, but when they have the 
ships and men it must make us 
tremble for our naval superiority. 
Old Charley Napier, who was of our 
party and is a great alarmist, declares 
it would take 100 men-of-war and 
100,000 men to take the place." 

In December I was honoured 
by an invitation to spend two 
days at Windsor Castle. I give 
iculars of my visit in this 
tter to my wife : 

WINDSOR CASTLE, Dec. 1, 1858. 
. At 8 o'clock a page came to 
ty room to usher me into the cor- 
ridor where were all the household, 
the gentlemen in Windsor uniform ; 
thence I was passed on to the green 
drawing-room where were the other 
guests Lord and Lady John Eussell, 
Lord Kingsdown, Duke and Duchess 
of Manchester, Lady De la Warr, &c. 
Lord John Russell came up, very 
kindly shook hands, and introduced 
me to Lady John and Lady De la 
Warr. After a short time the Lord 
Steward and household preceded the 
Queen and Prince, and we followed 
into the dining-room. I took in 
Miss Bulteel, one of the Maids of 
VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 




Honour. I was just opposite the 
Queen, who sat with the Duke of 
Manchester on her right. Dinner 
was quite as easy as an ordinary 
dinner-party. The band played, and 
the thing progressed very pleasantly. 
As soon as the ice had been handed 
round, the Queen rose and the ladies 
retired. We followed soon after. 
When we returned to the red drawing- 
room the Queen came round and said 
something to all the guests had a 
long chat with Lord John and a little 
one with the Judge Advocate. The 
Prince also came up and had a short 
conversation with Lord Kingsdown, 
Dr Hawtrey, and myself. After a 
time the Queen moved off and walked 
into the green drawing-room, where 
we mustered before dinner. Then 
the band came in and began to play. 
The Queen sat down with the ladies, 
and some of the gentlemen were 
asked to sit down also. I had a 
rubber with Sir Charles Phipps and 
two others. At 11 the Queen rose 
and retired. That put an end to the 
rubber, and we followed into the 
corridor. The Prince asked the 
Duke of Manchester to shoot with 
him to-morrow also Lord John 
Russell. He sent messages to the 
same effect to Lord Kingsdown and 
myself. Then we all retired to our 
rooms. 

Dec. 2. We assembled in the 
private chapel this morning about 
40 in number at 9. The Dean of 
Windsor read prayers after that we 
had breakfast. The day is very wet, 
and the shooting is put off. ... At 
dinner the Duchess of Kent, Princess 
Alice, the Marquis and Marchioness 
of Salisbury, Lord Portman, &c., 
formed part of the party. The Prin- 
cess Alice delighted me much. She 
is very lively, pleasant, pretty, and 
intelligent-looking." 

The Parliament of 1859 was 
opened on February 3. On the 
28th the ChanceUor of the Ex- 
chequer introduced the Govern- 
ment Reform Bill. On March 
1, Mr Walpole and Mr Henley 
announced their resignations. 
It is unnecessary to dwell long 
on that unhappy bill, which 
Q 



230 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[FeK 



found few friends. Lord John 
Russell met it with a hostile 
resolution, objecting to the dis- 
franchisement, as he termed it, 
of the freeholders holding pro- 
perties in boroughs. He told 
us an old story of a Devonshire 
freeholder, who, on coming to the 
poll, was asked if he had held 
his qualification more than a 
year, and replied, " More than a 
year! We have had it since 
William the Conqueror." Mem- 
bers on both sides objected to 
the uniformity of franchise in 
counties and boroughs. Mr 
Gladstone indulged and sur- 
prised the House with an elabo- 
rate defence of small boroughs, 
in a speech which he admitted 
to be "antiquated," and which 
certainly would have been very 
appropriate if it had been made 
in 1831. He said he concurred 
in everything which had been 
said against the bill. He spoke 
from the Ministerial side, below 
the gangway. He voted against 
Lord John's resolution and for 
the second reading, as did Mr 
Walpole and Mr Henley. The 
House divided on March 29. 
The Ayes were 291, Noes 330 ; 
majority against the bill 39. 
In April Parliament was dis- 
solved. The new House met 
on June 7. Lord Hartington 
moved as an amendment to the 
Address a vote of want of con- 
fidence in Lord Derby's Govern- 
ment. Sir James Graham and 
Mr Sidney Herbert spoke and 
voted for the amendment. Mr 
Gladstone went into the lobby 
with the Government. The 
House divided : for the amend- 
ment 323, against 310; major- 
ity against Government 13. 
Lord Derby at once resigned, 



and Lord Palmerston again be 
came Prime Minister. Lord 
John Russell was Foreign Sec- 
retary. The Cabinet included 
Mr Gladstone and Mr Sidney 
Herbert; John Bright and 
Richard Cobden were left out 
in the cold. Throughout the 
debate on the Address, stress 
was laid on the failure of the 
Government to prevent the war 
which had already commenced 
between France, Sardinia, and 
Austria. Magenta had been 
fought on June 7, and appre- 
hensions were entertained as to 
the outbreak of a general Euro- 
pean war. Lord Malmesbury 
has recorded his opinion that 
the Government would not 
have been defeated if Mr Dis- 
raeli had previously laid on the 
table the Blue Books containing 
the Italian and French corre- 
spondence with our Foreign 
Office. This may have been so. 
There can be no doubt that 
Lord Malmesbury 's policy and 
his ability were indicated by his 
own despatches. But nothing 
could have saved the Govern- 
ment long. There was a ma- 
jority, although a small one, 
upon the whole return against 
the Government ; and the more 
dignified course for the Govern- 
ment, and the more satisfactory 
for the Queen and the country, 
was that . the trial of strength 
should take place as soon as pos- 
sible, and that a new Adminis- 
tration should be formed under a 
Prime Minister who enjoyed the 
confidence of the country. Lord 
Palmerston possessed, to a re- 
markable extent, the power of 
conciliating opponents as well 
as of retaining friends, and it is 
a singular fact, as illustrating 



1899.] 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 






the extent of his personal in- 
fluence, that he came into power 
with a majority in his favour 
of 13 ; that the result of the 
election petitions was to strike 
off on the balance eight mem- 
bers from the Ministerial side 
(making a difference on a divi- 
sion of 16 votes), and that 
nevertheless he retained power 
until his death in 1865, and 
handed on a majority in a new 
Parliament to Lord Russell, 
who succeeded him. 

I do not propose to follow 
in any detail the proceedings 
of Parliament from 1860 to 
1865. A Right Honourable 
friend of mine, who was more 
fond of making speeches than 
the House was of listening to 
them, described it as a "dam- 
nable dining Parliament " ; and 
so it was. Bores were not 
encouraged ; count - outs were 
frequent. I had the pleasure 
of finding full employment for 
many weeks in each session, as 
chairman of Election Commit- 
tees and of Committees on 
Private Bills, work which I 
always found congenial to my 
taste, and which brought me 
into association with members 
in all quarters of the House, 
and so encouraged and kept up 
that feeling of fraternity which 
prevailed among us. 

The Budget of the Chancellor 
of the Exchequer in 1860 pro- 
posed to repeal the paper duty, 
while it doubled the income- 
tax. The bill for repeal of 
paper duty obtained a major- 
ity in the Commons of 53 on 
second reading, but of 9 only 
on third reading. In the Lords 
the bill was rejected by a 
majority of 89 Contents 104, 



231 



- Contents 193 after an 
admirable speech by Lord 
Lyndhurst. There was much de- 
bate and discussion in the Com- 
mons about what Mr Gladstone 
characterised as a " gigantic 
innovation " ; but "action " was 
not taken by Lord Palmerston, 
and the matter rested for the 
year. The Eeform Bill of 1860 
was introduced on March 1 
"not a bad day," as Lord John 
drily observed the anniversary 
of the same day on which the 
famous Act of 1832 first saw 
the light. But the House at 
large showed little interest in 
the subject. The "steam was 
not on," and the noble lord 
appeared for that night in the 
character of "Languid Johnny " 
rather than of " Glorious John." 
Mr Disraeli said it was a very 
bad bill. He knew only two 
members who approved it 
Lord John and Mr Bright. 
The second reading was moved 
on March 19. The debate was 
prolonged and inanimate, and 
adjourned over and over again ; 
and the question was not put 
from the Chair until May 3, 
when the bill was read a second 
time without a division. June 
4 was fixed for Committee, and 
on June 7 a motion for adjourn- 
ment 'was made, when the Gov- 
ernment obtained a majority of 
21 only for adjournment 248, 
against 269. On June 11 Lord 
John Russell withdrew the bill. 
Lord John Russell must have 
been mortified at the treatment 
which the bill experienced at 
the hands of the Government 
and the new House of Com- 
mons. It was not so much 
the hostility which it encoun- 
tered as the languid indifference 



232 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



with which it was met, the 
scurvy treatment which it 
received, and the humiliation 
to which it was exposed. Over 
and over again efforts were 
made to count the House out. 
A dreary debate in a listless 
House was interrupted by some 
one calling attention to the fact 
that forty members were not 
present. The bell rang. At 
once the lobby became lively. 
Absentees rushed from the din- 
ing-room. " Only a count ! " was 
the cry. Government Whips 
did their best to coax or coerce 
the Ministerialists to return. 
Some enjoyed the fun and re- 
mained outside. Some went so 
far as to obstruct the access to 
the door with a view of prevent- 
ing members going in. Such 
proceedings were unusual and 
most discreditable, and more so 
as both sides were equally com- 
mitted to some extension of the 
franchise and alteration of the 
Act of 1832. It remained for 
Mr Gladstone to rouse the 
popular feelings by his "flesh 
and blood " and " capable citi- 
zen " arguments with which 
we became so familiar later ; 
and it was seven years later 
before Lord John Russell could 
see his work done by other 
hands, and the principle of 
rating, to which Mr Disraeli 
gave some prominence in his 
speech in 1859, established as 
the basis of an extended suf- 
frage, and the second Reform 
Act placed among the statutes 
of the realm as the work of a 
Tory Government. 

In 1861-62 the English 
Parliament, although watching 
with the utmost anxiety the 
great conflict between the 



Northern and Southern States 
in America, happily abstained 
from taking any steps to inter- 
fere with the neutrality which 
the Government had determined 
to observe. I attribute this 
judicious forbearance to the 
wisdom and prescience of Mr 
Disraeli. From the first, he 
had realised the magnitude of 
the struggle. His language 
was always the same, in public 
and in private : " This is a 
great nation : it is not going 
to be broken up." The tone 
of society and of the House at 
that day was, speaking gener- 
ally, in favour of the South, 
and the Emperor of the French 
was believed to be ready to 
recognise them. A strong ex- 
pression of opinion in the House 
of Commons to that effect, 
supported by the leader of the 
Opposition, might have had an 
influence on Lord Palmerston's 
Government. Lord John Rus- 
sell had declared the struggle 
to be for empire on the one side 
and independence on the other. 
Mr Gladstone had said that 
Jefferson Davis had created an 
army and a navy, and had cre- 
ated a nation. Others, irrespon- 
sible people, on the Liberal side, 
had talked of the bubble having 
burst. But Mr Disraeli kept 
his own counsel, and did not 
encourage any action on the 
part of his friends. The re- 
cognition of the South would 
not probably have altered the 
ultimate issue, or prolonged the 
contest greatly; but it would 
have embittered the relations 
between this country and our 
brethren in the great republic 
on the other side of the At- 
lantic, and would have pre- 



1899.] 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



233 






vented the growth of that 
cordial understanding now so 
happily prevailing, and, I hope, 
permanently established, be- 
tween the United States and 
the United Kingdom, which 
promises such great results in 
time to come. I had some 
means of knowing Mr Disraeli's 
views, for he was staying with 
Lady Londonderry at Seaham 
in the autumn of 1861, be- 
tween the first Federal rout at 
Bull Run and the Mason and 
Slidell affair. I was one of the 
party there. The Civil War in 
America was the subject of 
daily discussion, and many an 
attempt was made to obtain 
Mr Disraeli's opinion. On one 
occasion I recollect a question 
being put, which he answered 
in these playful words, "I can 
only reply in the words of Lord 
Palmerston to a question put 

by Lady , 'I cannot see 

farther than my nose, and that 
is a very small one.' " 

While I was abroad in the 
autumn of 1862, I had the op- 
portunity while passing through 
Paris of seeing the Emperor 
Napoleon and the Prince Im- 
perial, then six years old, to- 
gether. I may be permitted to 
quote from a letter to my 
mother on that occasion : 
"PARIS, 23rd August 1862. 

" On Thursday I was off by a 
special train to Chalons, and was 
so lucky. There were only three 
carriages, all first - class, not half 
full. I found myself the fourth in 
a carriage, with an old man over 
sixty, as he looked, a young man about 
twenty-one, and an intermediate man: 
they might have passed for grand- 
father, father, and son, but that No. 
2 did not seem quite so free and 
familiar. After a time the young 
man talked English like a native. I 



found that he had visited the Inter- 
national Exhibition, and been every- 
where, and that he was somebody. 
Then the old man talked to me about 
some members of the House, &c., and 
I found I was among the Imperial 
family, and suspected that my friends 
were, as they proved to be, Prince 
Murat (the only son of the King of 
Naples, and first cousin of the Em- 
peror), and, I suppose, his son. The 
Emperor's carriage met them at the 
terminus, and we parted. I had a 
brilliant day, an unclouded sky, 
bright, hot, scorching, dusty. Our 
train was punctual. I had to traverse 
the whole camp right athwart to reach 
the racecourse, the immediate object of 
attraction. It was a fast walk of forty- 
five minutes. At one o'clock came the 
Imperial family, my friend of the 
rail way -train in the post of honour 
on the Emperor's right. There were 
six races such as we have in England. 
I got a capital place, went everywhere, 
and saw everything The Emperor 
looks very well : he is getting fat, but 
he looks better than he did at Cher- 
bourg four years ago. The Prince 
Imperial is a nice little boy, like his 
mother in complexion, but not other- 
wise like either parent. He was in 
full uniform with a cocked hat ! The 
Emperor seems so fond of him. After 
the races I had more than four hours 
to go about the camp. I suppose 
there were about 30,000 men there ; 
and the Emperor with the Prince Im- 
perial is spending a week amongst the 
soldiers. The place was awfully 
crowded, every vehicle of every kind 
in requisition to bring all the country 
people and multitudes from Paris, 
Kheims, Chalons, &c. We got back 
all safe about 1.10. The line was 
necessarily very full, but things were 
shunted to let us pass. Eating and 
drinking were the great difficulty of 
the day, and I was not sorry about 
10 o'clock at Epernay station to find 
champagne sold by the glass at the 
refreshment-room. 

During the session of 1865 
all our thoughts "were concen- 
trated on the dissolution of 
the longest Parliament of the 
reign, and the great struggle 
which both sides were making 



234 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



to obtain a majority in the 
next Parliament. Independ- 
ently of the University contest, 
of which I make a special 
mention hereafter, I was active- 
ly engaged in our Berkshire 
contest, where we succeeded 
in carrying the whole county, 
returning three Conservative 
members. Buckinghamshire 
and Oxfordshire followed our 
example, so that the three 
counties constituting the one 
diocese of Oxford sent up 
what Mr Disraeli called our 
nine Diocesan Members. 

The year 1865 brings me to 
an event, in itself of great politi- 
cal moment, with which my 
thoughts and a great deal of my 
time had been occupied for over 
twelve months. In his repre- 
sentation of the University of 
Oxford, in Parliament, Mr Glad- 
stone never was without oppo- 
sition. The old Protectionists 
brought their candidates to the 
poll against him in 1847 and 

1852. I was an active member 
of his committee on both those 
occasions. I did not vote in 

1853. Many, like myself, be- 
tween ceasing to be among his 
supporters and actively oppos- 
ing him by their votes, took up 
an attitude of neutrality for a 
time. But from the moment of 
his entering the Palmerston 
Government, in 1859, a quiet but 
determined resolution filled the 
minds of many of us, both in 
Oxford and among old Oxonians 
in London, to turn Mr Glad- 
stone out. The several assaults 
upon his seat, however, were 
singularly unsuccessful. That 
in 1853 was made by a candidate 
quite unknown in public life, 
and it failed completely. That 



in 1859 was more serious ; still, 
Lord Chandos was not a can- 
didate sufficiently strong to oust 
Mr Gladstone. In 1859 Mr 
Gladstone accepted office under 
Lord Derby, as Lord High Com- 
missioner to the Ionian Isles. 
The writ "was moved by the 
Tory Whip, and Mr Gladstone 
took his seat on the Minis- 
terial side, upon re-election on 
the 8th of March. Three 
months later another writ was 
moved this time by the Liberal 
Whip on his becoming Lord 
Palmerston's Chancellor of the 
Exchequer. And instead of 
being, as might have been ex- 
pected from his past career, the 
most Conservative element in 
the new Government, Mr Glad- 
stone, it became evident, was 
the most advanced. His action 
in the House and his speeches 
out of doors showed that ; and 
it was resolved to form a strong 
committee and to select a really 
strong candidate, in the convic- 
tion that if the constituency 
could be completely polled, it 
would be found that Mr Glad- 
stone no longer was the real 
representative of the University 
of Oxford. This confidence was 
justified by the election of 1865. 
The story of that election has 
never been fully told, and now 
that Lord Beauchamp (then the 
Hon. Fred. Lygon), Judge Cooke, 
and Professor Wall are dead, 
few, if any, save myself, among 
the active agents, are left to tell 
it. The first man we thought 
of as a candidate was Sot heron 
Estcourt, a son of Mr Bucknall 
Estcourt, who had been member 
for the University of Oxford from 
1826 to 1847, and whom, indeed, 
Mr Gladstone had succeeded in 



1899. 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



235 



the latter year. Mr Sotheron 
Estcourt, however, would not 
sever the close attachment that 
existed between him and his 
constituency in North Wilts. 
The next names that suggested 
themselves to us were Sir Staf- 
ford Northcote and Mr Gathorne 
Hardy. Sir Stafford, however, 
was not to be persuaded to 
stand, in view of his previous 
relations as private secretary 
with Mr Gladstone. We met 
with very little encouragement 
from Mr Hardy. In June 1864 
a meeting was held in London 
io discuss the Oxford seat. I 
was in the chair, and there 
was present a large gathering 
of members of the University, 
from Oxford and from the 
House of Commons. A resolu- 
tion was moved and unani- 
mously carried that Mr Glad- 
stone should be opposed. No 
candidate was selected at that 
meeting, but there was a gen- 
eral hope and expectation that 
such pressure would be put 
upon Mr Hardy as would in- 
duce him in time to give his 
consent to stand. 

Accordingly, a declaration, 
.signed by over 150 members 
of Convocation, expressing their 
Intention to support Mr Hardy 
as a candidate for the Uni- 
versity in opposition to Mr 
Gladstone, was widely circu- 
lated throughout the autumn 
and winter. Communications, 
it may be interesting to re- 
call, were to be addressed to 
any of the following : at Ox- 
ford, to the Rev. the Presi- 
dent of St John's ; the Rev. R. 
Michell, St Giles ; the Rev. Pro- 
fessor Wall, Balliol; the Rev. 
Professor Mansel, St John's; 



the Rev. T. H. Sheppard, Ex- 
eter; the Rev. E. T. Turner, 
Brasenose; Rev. George Petch, 
Trinity; and the Rev. H. R. 
Bramley, Magdalen. And at 
42 Wimpole Street, W., to the 
London Committee, of which I 
was the chairman, Ward Hunt, 
M.P., and Stephen Cave, M.P., 
were vice-chairmen, and Hon. 
Wm. Brodrick, now Viscount 
Midleton (Balliol), J. G. Darby 
(Ch. Ch.), A. Stavely Hill, 
D.C.L. (St John's), and Gran- 
ville R. Ryder (Ch. Ch.), mem- 
bers. Several hundreds of 
names were added to this de- 
claration ; but when Parlia- 
ment met in 1865 Mr Hardy 
still declined to allow his name 
to be mentioned as a candidate. 
After Easter, committee rooms 
were engaged in Great George 
Street, Westminster, where we 
worked hard daily up to the 
conclusion of the poll. 

We had now reason to hope 
that Mr Hardy would not be 
unwilling to sit if he were 
elected. But he had not in 
any real sense declared him- 
self a candidate. He still was 
a candidate for Leominster, for 
which, as a matter of fact, he 
was re-elected after a contest 
as well as for the University. 
His exact position may best be 
described in his own words : 

" HOUSE OF COMMONS, 
May 24, 1865. 

" MY DEAR MOWBRAY, There 
seems to be some misapprehension 
as to my position in regard to the 
Oxford University election. It has 
been, and is, an embarrassing one 
from the peculiar circumstances of 
the case. I have never been a can- 
didate for the University, and am not 
so now. I have always felt that a con- 
stituency such as that should select its 
member without intervention on his 



236 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



part, and whoever may be chosen must 
be at their disposal. My name has 
been used by the Committee, of which 
you are chairman, without interfer- 
ence on my part, and I accept the 
consequences, whatever they may 
be. It would be unjust and un- 
generous to those who have made 
such disinterested exertions on my 
behalf were I to withdraw my name 
now ; but, so far as positive action 
on my own part is concerned, it must 
be directed to my re - election at 
Leominster. If the University seat 
should eventually be offered to me, 
I could not, of course, hesitate one 
moment as to its acceptance. No 
other constituency can confer so great 
an honour, and I at least should 
never undervalue the distinction. 
Believe me, yours very truly, 

"GATHORNE HARDY." 

Incredulity as to our success 
was general, in the House and 
in the country. Mr Gladstone's 
seat had been assailed so often 
in vain, that it had come to be 
taken for granted that it was 
impregnable. We, on the other 
hand, were confident of victory, 
else we should not have pushed 
matters so far. Nothing was 
further from our thoughts than 
a merely "worrying opposition. 
With that we should have had 
nothing to do, although by 
most people it was assumed, 
I think, that we had nothing 
more to hope for. But every 
week had brought us the names 
of men who previously had 
been Gladstonians, and of re- 
cruits among the younger mem- 
bers of the University. We 
were confident of winning, 
therefore, and said so ; but the 
figures upon which that confi- 
dence was based were kept a 
profound secret. They were 
known to four men only, two 
in London (of whom I was one) 
and two in Oxford. As time 



"went on the greatest interest 
began to be shown in en- 
deavouring to ascertain the 
number of promises on either 
side, but we were never to be 
drawn by the fishing questions 
with which we were pressed. I 
found that our figures were 
always underestimated. Before 
going down to meet my own 
constituents at Durham, where 
I was returned unopposed on 
July 11, I showed our figures to 
Mr Disraeli, who "was surprised 
and gratified exceedingly. He 
had shared in the general in- 
credulity. Our estimate showed 
a majority of 180 for Mr 
Hardy, and the poll corrobor- 
ated it exactly. 

The chairman of Mr Hardy's 
Oxford Committee "was Arch- 
deacon Clerke, which led Bishop 
Wilberforce to say of the opposi- 
tion, "They plough with my 
heifer." Thereupon Dean Man- 
sel wrote the following witty 
lines : 

" When the versatile Bishop of Oxford's 
famed city 

Cast his eyes on the chairman of Hardy's 
Committee, 

Said Samuel, from Samson the meta- 
phor taken, 

' They plough with my heifer, that is, 
my Archdeacon.' 

But when Samuel himself leaves his 
friends in the lurch 

To vote with the foes of the State and 
the Church, 

It proves without doubt and the 
spectacle shocks one 

That Dissenters can plough with Epis- 
copal Oxon." 

The poll opened on Thursday 
the 13th July, and lasted until 
the 18th, the intervening Sun- 
day excepted. On the first day 
of the poll, about 5 P.M., the 
Bishop of Oxford came into the 
theatre booted and spurred,. 



1899." 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



237 






about to ride to Cuddesden 
Palace. The Vice - Chancellor 
leant forward, and in a low 
voice said, "You must vote in 
your academicals, you know." 
This occasioned a little merri- 
ment ; and on the Bishop's re- 
turn Mr Granville Somerset, 
who was acting as a kind of 
legal adviser for Mr Hardy, 
called his lordship's attention 
to the resolution of the House 
of Commons that no Peer should 
take part in the election of a 
member of the Commons' House, 
and asked him if he had con- 
sidered it. He said he had. 
Sir Kobert Phillimore, who ap- 
peared for Mr Gladstone, asked 
if it was not held that that 
resolution did not apply to 
elections by members of Con- 
vocation. The Bishop smiled, 
but did not commit himself to 
any answer, and immediately 
said, " Samuel Wilberforce, 
Oriel. I vote for Mr Glad- 
stone," and the vote was 
recorded. Some years after- 
wards there was an election 
during a session of Parliament 
for a member of the University 
of Cambridge, and the names of 
two bishops appeared on the 
committee of one of the candi- 
dates. A question was asked 
about it in the House of Com- 
mons, and both names were 
withdrawn. I called the atten- 
tion of the Bishop of Oxford to 
this incident, and said that the 
prelates of the sister university 
had followed a bad example set 
them at Oxford in 1865. The 
Bishop, with his usual readiness, 
replied, " Not at all. The cases 
are not the same. When I 
voted there was no Parliament 
and no Resolution in existence, 



and I never thought any future 
House of Commons would be 
so foolish as to pass such a 
Resolution." 

The next day, the 14th, Dr 
Jacobson, Regius Professor of 
Divinity, afterwards Bishop of 
Chester, chairman of Mr Glad- 
stone's committee, came to me 
and said that five Peers had 
recorded their votes for Mr 
Gladstone, and proposed that 
we should poll the same num- 
ber, when after that no more 
Peers should vote. I thanked 
him very cordially, and re- 
plied that I was infinitely 
obliged, but I was quite aware 
of the fact. They had brought 
Church and State to bear 
against us, the bishop of the 
diocese voting in person, and 
the stepson of the Prime Minis- 
ter, Earl Cowper, sending in his 
voting-paper on the first day. 
But, I added, all these votes- 
were illegal, and in the event of 
a scrutiny would be struck off, 
and, besides, I was confident of 
winning, and should only do so 
by legal votes, and that, as far 
as I was concerned, no Peers 
would vote, though there were 
some who wished to do so. 

The voting went on steadily 
for five days. The majority 
mounted up gradually from 34 
on the first day to 70 on the 
second. On the third, the 15th, 
a large influx of Gladstonians 
appeared, and by mid-day our 
majority was gone for a time. 
But I had a reserve of voting- 
papers in Oxford, which I at 
once induced those members of 
Convocation who held them to 
put in, and so Mr Hardy was left 
on the Saturday night with a 
majority of 100. On Tuesday 



238 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



the poll closed, and the return 
showed a majority for us of 
180 



Hardy . 
Gladstone 



1904 
1724 



being just the majority of 180 
shown by the estimate which 
I had placed in the hands of 
Mr Disraeli. 

At this point, where I near 
the close, in the death of 
Lord Palmerston, of a great 
parliamentary period, I would 
add a word respecting the 
great leaders and prominent 
members in it with whom I 
was in contact, leaving for the 
future any comments about Mr 
Disraeli, Mr Gladstone, Sir 
Stafford Northcote, Mr Hardy, 
and others. 

Lord John Russell deserves 
most honourable mention as a 
Leader of the House. There 
was a calm and statesmanlike 
demeanour which commanded 
respect, and his reply in sum- 
ming up the arguments after a 
long debate was a masterly 
performance. From his earliest 
days he had accepted the tra- 
dition that the universe was 
made for the Whigs. Mr Dis- 
raeli well said that the char- 
acter of Lord John Russell 
was a proud possession of the 
House of Commons. Lord 
Lytton said of him with some 
exaggeration : 

" How form'd to lead, if not too proud 

to please, 
His fame will fire you, but his manners 

freeze." 

My experience was the re- 
verse. He was most courteous 
and accessible in the House. I 



have mentioned a little incident 
which occurred when I met him 
at Windsor in 1858. I much 
appreciated his ready and cor- 
dial greeting and his kindly 
manner, the more remarkable 
as coming from one who was 
neither a political leader nor 
a personal friend. I always 
found him the same. Of Lord 
Palmerston it is superfluous to 
speak. He was naturally joy- 
ous, genial, and obliging. There 
was no hauteur in his manner 
to a young member who wanted 
to approach him. He led the 
House with signal success, ex- 
cept during the short period 
from May 1857 to March 1858, 
when he seemed somewhat in- 
toxicated with his popularity 
after the China Dissolution. 
From 1859 to 1865 he was 
supreme and unquestioned. 
He was a ready debater, but 
not a great speaker. He rose 
to the occasion most when he 
had to repel the personal at- 
tacks made upon him as For- 
eign Secretary in 1850, when 
he spoke'jfrom sunset to sun- 
rise. He knew his audience, 
and he knew how to conciliate 
it. But I do not think he 
made a single great speech in 
the ten years of his ascendancy 
from 1855 to 1865. 

Other well - known figures 
arise before me while dwelling 
on these reminiscences. There 
was no one for whom I had 
a greater admiration than Sir 
George Cornewall Lewis, no 
one for whose memory I have 
a profounder respect. His was 
the very highest class of in- 
tellect. He was always in- 
formed to the full on every 
subject on which he spoke. 



1899.] 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



239 






Wise, thoughtful, and judicious, 
his speeches, which I listened 
to with unfailing attention, 
were full of matter and cogent 
argument. There have been 
smarter debaters and more 
brilliant rhetoricians in our 
generation ; but to my mind 
he was as able and sound a 
statesman as any who have 
served the Queen during her 
long reign. Had he lived, and 
had the nation ever come to 
appreciate his high qualities 
and his consummate judgment, 
he must have exercised a great 
and moderating influence on 
the Liberal party, in spite of 
Mr Gladstone's predominance 
in it. And he might have 
filled a place in the estimation 
of the public which had been 
left vacant since the death of 
Sir Robert Peel. No man cer- 
tainly more entirely deserved 
the compliment which Mr 
Gladstone paid him when he 
described him as 

" justissimus unus 

Qui fuit in Teucris, et servantissimus 
sequi." 

When the news arrived of his 
death one day after an Easter 
recess, the House adjourned as 
a mark of respect. Cardwell 
remarked to me at the time : 
"Ah, well, he wouldn't take 
any exercise. He used to say, 
' I've heard of many men dying 
of hard riding, but never any of 
hard reading.' " 

Another notable figure in 
the House was Sir E. Bulwer 
Lytton, who, if he had gone 
into official life earlier, would 
assuredly have taken a great 
place as an administrator as 
well as a debater. Disraeli, 



the shrewdest of judges, had 
a high opinion of his political 
talents, and it was acknow- 
ledged by all that he developed 
great capacity for public life 
during his short tenure, with- 
out any previous experience, of 
the post of Secretary of State. 
When he went to the Colonial 
Office he at once impressed the 
permanent officials. I asked 
Herman Merivale, Permanent 
Under - Secretary for the Col- 
onies, a remarkable man himself 
and a severe critic, how he liked 
his new chief. His eyes bright- 
ened, and he replied in tones 
of enlightened admiration, " Oh, 
he is a splendid fellow ! " 

There are many others on 
both sides not to be forgotten. 
General Peel, with whom I was 
brought into close contact in 
1858, and again in 1866, when 
he was War Minister and I was 
Judge Advocate, was intellectu- 
ally not far behind his illus- 
trious brother the great Prime 
Minister (as I have heard Lord 
Derby say), vigorous alike in 
mind and body, with a ready 
smile and a joyous laugh. I 
shall never forget a short speech 
which he made in 1864, when 
Denmark was beset with her 
foes, and the House felt rather 
ashamed that we kept aloof. 
He sat down, exclaiming, "We 
are rebuked of our neighbours, 
we are laughed to scorn and 
had in derision of them that 
are round about us," and never 
did I hear more uproarious 
cheers greet the peroration of 
any brilliant orator. Again, 
there were Sir James Graham 
so nearly first-class that none un- 
derstood why he did not occupy 
that position of a commanding 



240 



Seventy Years at Westminster. 



[Feb. 



presence, a successful adminis- 
trator, and a powerful debater ; 
Sir George Grey and Mr Sidney 
Herbert statesmen of the high- 
est integrity, and as much be- 
loved in private life as they 
\vere honoured as most capable 
public servants ; Mr Walpole, 
who seemed to have inherited 
much of the stately dignity and 
the classic style which adorned 
the oratory of the eighteenth 
century ; Mr Henley, supreme 
at Quarter Sessions, placed at 
the Board of Trade, and mak- 
ing his mark there at once, the 
most acute critic of the lan- 
guage of any bill in Committee 
that any draftsman ever had 
to dread ; Sir John Pakington, 
and Colonel Wilson Patten. 

I need not dwell on the un- 
adorned eloquence of Mr Cobden 
or the magnificent utterances of 
Mr Bright. The speeches of 
the latter, notably two during 
the Crimean war, in December 
1854 and January 1855, have 
left a profound impression on 
me as the grandest I ever heard 
in Parliament. And already 
there are strong indications that 
the verdict of posterity on the 
policy which those statesmen 
maintained with so much pluck 
and upheld with such perse- 
verance in 1854 and 1855, will 
not be the same as their con- 
temporaries expressed with so 
much passion at the polls in 
1857. 

On July 6, 1865, Parliament 



was dissolved. The writs were 
returnable in August, on the 
15th of which month the new 
Parliament was prorogued till 
November 1. Lord Palmerston 
died in October, and was buried 
in Westminster Abbey on Fri- 
day, October 27. There were 
points of contrast and points 
of resemblance between that 
funeral and the funeral of Mr 
Gladstone in May 1898. Mr 
Gladstone died in the midst of 
a session. There was a resolu- 
tion that the House should 
attend, and we walked in pro- 
cession with the Speaker at our 
head to the Abbey. In 1865 
we were a new Parliament 
gathered together I know not 
how in a time of prorogation. 
We had never looked one an- 
other in the face, we had no 
Speaker, we had not taken 
our oaths or seats ; Mr Denison 
was there, the Speaker of the 
Parliament of 1859, but then 
only a Member of Parliament 
and a Privy Councillor. We 
occupied the South Transept, as 
we did in 1898, and the place 
of sepulture was also in the 
North Transept, where so many 
illustrious statesmen of whom 
England is proud repose. It 
was an impressive scene. All 
deplored the loss which the 
country had sustained, and 
every individual had a kindly 
feeling for the memory of one 
who was so well known and so 
universally beloved. 



L899.] 



From the New Gibbon. 



241 



FROM THE NEW GIBBON. 



. THE close of the nine- 
mth century beheld the British 
Empire at the highest pitch of its 
prosperity. The records of every 
contemporary nation celebrate, 
while they envy, the multitude 
of its subjects and the orderly 
felicity of its citizens. Its 
frontiers comprehended the 
fairest regions of the earth ; 
and its authority extended 
alike over the most dutiful of 
daughter-peoples and the wild- 
est and most sequestered bar- 
barians. The judicious delega- 
tion of the minor prerogatives 
of government conciliated the 
free affections of the Colonies ; 
and the ruder dependencies 
were maintained in contented, 
if unenthusiastic, submission by 
the valour, the conduct, and 
the impartial justice of their 
alien administrators. Two cen- 
turies of empire had seemed 
insufficient to oppress or ener- 
vate the virile and adventurous 
spirit of the British race. It 
tempted the ardours of the 
Sudan sun at midsummer, and 
cheerfully sustained the rigours 
of the icy winter of the Klon- 
dyke. While the hardy soldier 
defended and continually pro- 
pagated the distant boundaries 
of Victoria's dominions, the 
tranquil and prosperous state 
of the British Islands was 
deeply felt, if grudgingly ad- 
mitted, by every class of their 
population. There, if any- 
where on the earth, was to 
be found wholesome public 
feeling untainted by faction 
and wealth, unobnoxious to 



jealousy. The distinction of 
Conservative and Liberal pre- 
served the name of party gov- 
ernment without its substance ; 
and the purely formal opposi- 
tion of denominations, rather 
than of principles, served as a 
useful check on the dominant 
party without risk of cataclysm 
in the general policy of the 
State. The example of France, 
her secular enemy, emphasised 
the just complacency with 
which Britain seemed to re- 
gard her condition. The re- 
public groaned under an alter- 
nation of licence and tyranny ; 
the monarchy breathed freely 
in the reasonable acceptance 
of laws, enacted honestly for 
the general good and applied 
indifferently by judges of grave 
sacrosanctity. In her foreign 
relations France alternately in- 
trigued and precipitately with- 
drew from the consequences of 
her duplicity; Britain pursued 
her designs with unyielding 
tenacity, but in uninjurious 
silence. Unvexed by the con- 
scription which weighed upon 
their neighbours, and secure 
in the protection of their invin- 
cible navy, the people affected 
the arts of peace, and received 
the accustomed reward of a 
single devotion. The workshop 
of the world since two genera- 
tions, Britain neither dreaded 
the competition of strangers 
nor listened to the cautions of 
the more sagacious of her own 
children. The Recessional of 
the sublime Kipling and the 
economic speculations of the 



242 



From the New Gibbon. 



[Feb. 



inquisitive but censorious Mai- 
lock fell alike unheeded on the 
ears of those who were content 
to argue that the condition of 
the lower orders, though in- 
sufficient to their own appe- 
tence, was luxurious compared 
to that of their fellows abroad, 
while the easy splendour of the 
rich inflamed the emulation of 
all mankind; and that the 
public Exchequer supported 
with facility all burdens which 
the ever-increasing exigencies of 
the Empire might impose. 

It was scarcely possible that 
the eyes of contemporaries 
should discern in the public 
felicity the latent causes of 
decay and corruption. To the 
vulgar mind the British Em- 
pire was a triumphant proof 
of the possibility, as of the 
blessings, of a wise democracy ; 
yet in that very process of 
democracy were inherent the 
seeds of ruin. In the domain 
of Government the political 
genius of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, its bias toward compro- 
mise and detestation of ex- 
tremity, surmounted with im- 
punity experiments that would 
have proved fatal to any other 
people less singularly endowed. 
But while the leaders of the 
nation were satisfied with pro- 
moting or seeking to retard 
the popular encroachment upon 
the functions of Government, 
democracy infused a slower and 
more secret poison into the 
vitals of society. If the opin- 
ion of the vulgar was unac- 
knowledged in Parliament, in 
every other department of life 
it insensibly permeated the 
whole spirit of the people. It 
became a maxim of imperial 



policy, a law of social develop- 
ment, a canon of taste. The 
Englishman of the beginning 
of the nineteenth century was 
accustomed to demand that his 
policy should be glorious, the 
accessories of his daily life un- 
surpassed in quality, the objects 
of his aesthetic admiration beau- 
tiful. The Englishman of the 
end of that period of decadence 
was content if they "were cheap. 
The student of that age 
will find melancholy evidence 
of degeneration in the printed 
records, and especially in the 
newspapers, of the time. The 
reported speeches of public 
men, the venal arguments of 
leader-writers, the tattling of 
the parasites of fashion, the 
statistics of the markets, the 
very advertisements, bear un- 
animous testimony to the de- 
based ideas which then enjoyed 
a ready and unprotested cur- 
rency. The empire, that mag- 
nificent fabric founded upon the 
generous impulse to conquer 
and to rule, was now formally 
regarded as a mere machine for 
the acquisition of pounds ster- 
ling. A Palmerston and a Dis- 
raeli had been the spokesmen 
of the earlier Imperialism ; the 
later found its apt mouthpiece 
in a Chamberlain. The master- 
ful truculence of the British 
gentleman, and the opulent im- 
agination of the Anglicised Jew, 
this generation cheerfully ex- 
changed for the ambitions of a 
manufacturer fostered by the 
arts of a demagogue. Gifted 
"with an extraordinary intuition 
of the changing predilections of 
his countrymen, Chamberlain 
was enabled to turn, to the ad- 
vantage of his own popularity, 



th< 



1899.] 

the flood of patriotism which 
rose in the decade between the 
first and second Jubilees of Queen 
Victoria. He became the high- 
priest of what was fondly sal- 
uted as the new Imperialism, 
on the lips of whose votaries 
British Empire was synonymous 
with British commerce. His 
declamations, while they will 
reward the curious investigator 
with little that is either original 
thought or elegant in expres- 
in, proclaim but too eloquently 
e altered feelings with which 
the later Britons regarded their 
greatness. Where they had 
.ce resolved to possess, they 

aspired but to trade. 
The jargon of the day clam- 
for "the open door," by 
hich phrase was understood 
market which British pro- 
cts could enter on terms of 
al equality with those of the 
t of the world. In the man- 
age of Drake and Hawkins 
tain had opened her own 
.oor for herself ; now her diplo- 
macy all but petitioned for an 
equality of treatment which the 
growing incapacity of her own 
traders must, in any event, have 
rendered fruitless. Among the 
strange ironies which the his- 
torian of this period finds him- 
self compelled to record, none 
is more deeply ironical than the 
fact that, in proportion as the 
nation came to regard com- 
merce as its highest and only 
weal, so commerce itself lost 
vitality and astuteness. The 
degeneracy of the people spread 
to that very activity to which 
they had sacrificed their nobler 
sentiments of empire ; and while 
arms and justice, arts and letters, 
were postponed in the general 



From the New Gibbon. 



243 




estimation to manufacture and 
trade, these mercenary avoca- 
tions were themselves pursued 
without energy and almost 
without common shrewdness. 
Like the ostrich of mythology, 
her head buried in the sand of 
obsolete traditions and an- 
tiquated success, Britain alone 
of the nations of Europe refused 
to educate her commercial trav- 
ellers or to accede to the terms 
of payment required by her 
customers, clung to her chaotic 
weights and measures, and 
haughtily announced to the 
world that it must forgo such 
goods as its wants demanded, 
and purchase only what Britain 
was pleased to sell. In Ger- 
many, in Belgium, and in the 
United States sprang up keen 
and victorious competition ; and 
though the vast wealth of Eng- 
land was as yet almost unim- 
paired, a few sagacious minds, 
while impartially blind to the 
more fatal deterioration of the 
nation's spirit, were already 
enabled to foresee and to pre- 
dict the approaching disasters 
to its traffic. 

At the same time, as it was- 
thus sought, by menace or per- 
suasion, to extend the principles 
of Free Trade abroad, at home 
they were eating, like a deep 
and consuming canker, into the 
very marrow of Britain. The 
insidious principles of Bright 
and Cobden had made her the 
workshop of the whole world; 
but they brought to her the 
physical debility of the work- 
man as well as his wages. The 
profits of the manufacturer and 
the cheap food of the operative 
were paid for by the starvation 
of the hind, the bankruptcy of 



244 



From the New Gibbon. 



[Feb. 



the farmer, and the ruin of the 
landowner. On every industrial 
benefit followed an agricultural 
calamity ; and the prosperity of 
the town was remorselessly 
.attended by the beggary of the 
hamlet. The movement of the 
population accompanied, as in 
every age, the distribution of 
wealth ; so that the towns dis- 
tended to cities and the hamlets 
disappeared in a wilderness. 

The effects of life in cities 
were apparent and pernicious. 
But for the unbroken attesta- 
tion of both printed and pic- 
tured records, it would be 
difficult indeed to credit the 
full horrors exhibited by such 
districts as Lancashire or 
the Black Country at the 
end of the nineteenth century. 
There the wildest flights of 
hyperbole were equalled and 
exceeded by dismal truth, and 
the sun was literally obscured 
at noonday. A host of ungainly 
chimneys loaded the air with 
poisonous fumes which op- 
pressed the hardiest species of 
vegetation. The inhabitants, 
penned up by day in close 
factories or the dimmer and 
more stifling obscurity of mines, 
herded by night in crowded 
tenements, were pale, sickly, 
and meagre ; and, by a malig- 
nant decree of nature, the 
species became more prolific 
in proportion as they trans- 
mitted less vigour to their off- 
spring. The philosopher of that 
age observed that the immi- 
grant countrymen supported 
the unwholesome conditions of 
the towns better than the 
feebler natives, and that their 
superior robustness conferred an 
advantage in the competition 



for employment ; but the second 
and third generations dissolved 
away in equal languor under 
the pestilent circumstances of 
an unnatural existence. The 
momentary profit of the fathers 
was visited in debility 011 the 
children, and served only to pre- 
cipitate the speed of this hideous 
process of degeneration. 

The universal experience of 
mankind confirms the opinion 
that the sole defence of a nation 
against external enmity lies in 
the preservation of a robust 
and high - spirited peasantry. 
The British farm-labourer had 
found himself naturally pos- 
sessed of many of the qualities 
requisite for a soldier. His 
form was vigorous, and inured 
to hardship and privation. He 
had a natural habit of obedi- 
ence, and in many instances 
was already proficient in the use 
of weapons and accustomed by 
the pursuit of game to the 
simpler operations of war. The 
children of the factory, from 
whom it now became necessary 
to recruit the army, had none 
of these capacities : they were 
feeble in body, insubordinate in 
temper, and habituated by ex- 
perience to a mode of life which 
rendered them awkward and 
discontented in the field. As 
yet, however, the British army 
showed. but few signs of deterio- 
ration from the standards of its 
glorious history. The courage 
of its legionaries was unbroken, 
and its officers, besides training 
them in peace and leading them 
in war with matchless courage 
and coolness, found superfluous 
energy to raise and discipline 
auxiliary troops hardly, if at 
all, inferior to the British regi- 



1899.] 



From the New Gibbon. 



245 



ments themselves. Northern 
India and the basins of the 
Upper Nile and Niger supplied 
excellent soldiers, who proved 
their valour and endurance in 
all the wars of the end of the 
nineteenth century. They con- 
stituted the major part of the 
successful expeditions to Tirah, 
to Khartum, and to Bida ; but 
the very strength they brought 
to British arms was an insidious 
source of decline. As the war- 
like spirit and manly force of 
the white races succumbed to 
the enervating influence of in- 
dustrial civilisation, the Govern- 
ment of London relied more and 
more on the martial virtue of 
its subject barbarians. These, 
whether in India or Africa, 
were as forward in the field as 
the British regiments, and 
undertook, almost unaided by 
them, the necessary fatigues 
which contribute even more 
than the sword to the success- 
ful prosecution of a campaign. 
It was perhaps an inevitable 
consequence of the imperial fate 
which impelled Britons to make 
war in every clime ; since the 
severities of the Afghan winter, 
which chilled the courage of 
the British troops, were scarcely 
felt by the hardy children of 
Nepaul ; while the Sudanese 
and Hausas, in their turn, were 
better able to resist the beams 
of an African sun. But it was 
significant, if as yet unnoticed, 
that the masters of the Empire 
grew either less able or less 
willing to risk their own troops 
in its unhealthier regions, and 
were yearly more disposed to 
delegate their defence to a 
mercenary army. The in- 
domitable spirit of the English 
VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



gentleman prompted him to 
seek martial enterprises at the 
head of the alien levies, whose 
continual service proffered the 
fairest chance of action and 
honour; and the mass of the 
people, relieved of the cares of 
personal service, sank con- 
tentedly into the languid in- 
difference of civil life. Black 
men and brown men, flanked 
with an increasingly inconsider- 
able proportion of white troops, 
won the British victories ; and 
the cheaply fed British citizens 
were content to sit and acclaim 
their prowess from the galleries 
of the music-halls. 

In sport, as in its analogue, 
war, the British degenerated 
with frightful rapidity. The 
very word had lost its original 
connotation ; and the honour- 
able name proper to the manly 
exercises of hunting, shooting, 
and fishing, whose charm con- 
sists in matching man's strength 
and cunning against that of 
wild nature, was usurped by 
childish or plebeian exhibitions 
of mere brute strength and 
agility. The Briton found his 
pleasure in bestriding a bicycle 
instead of a horse, in striking a 
tennis-ball instead of a wild- 
fowl ; nor was he even sensible 
of the degradation that could 
prefer a mechanical toy to a 
living creature with a will in- 
dependent of, yet conformable 
to, his own. Even the older 
and more reputable games, like 
cricket, football, and skittles, 
which might have defended 
themselves as affording at least 
a semblance of wholesome 
activity to the youth of towns, 
were turned by a truly devilish 
ingenuity into engines of ener- 
B 



246 



From the New Gibbon. 



[Feb. 



vation and decay. It ceased 
to be fashionable to join per- 
sonally in these spasmodic but 
active pastimes. The populace 
thronged to them in thousands, 
but only to pay for the privilege 
of witnessing as lazy spectators 
recreations which were fondly 
called national. Some of these 
exhibitions were more than 
merely effeminate : active cor- 
ruption was added in allure- 
ments to drunkenness, and in 
a factious partisanship which 
sometimes blew up to brutal 
assaults on the umpires of the 
game, and was always a fertile 
source of gambling. In their 
amusements, as in their wars, 
Britons ceased to play a per- 
sonal part, finding a substitute 
for the vigorous sports of their 
fathers in the force and address 
of well-paid mercenaries, which 
in a more strenuous age would 
have rebuked the insolent soft- 
ness of those who pampered 
them. 

Personal force and military 
hardihood were the price which 
Britain paid for cheap im- 
ported food; the other cheap 
commodities in which the 
people delighted were pur- 
chased at a no less ruinous 
rate. In every department of 
social life the tendency of this 
age was the same, leading to 
the concentration of every in- 
dustry into huge establishments 
controlled by a few heads, and 
succeeding, by the preponder- 
ance of their resources, in under- 
selling the enterprises of small 
private traders. The Londoner 
of this period bought his food, 
his clothing, his furniture, his 
books and newspapers, his very 
tobacco, from companies, stores, 



and amalgamations, which 
counted the volume of their 
traffic by millions and their 
profits by hundreds of thou- 
sands of pounds, their emporia 
by scores, and their employees 
by thousands. The tradesmen 
of the preceding generation were 
thankful to become the man- 
agers and the shopwalkers of 
their inflated supplanters, and 
earned a livelihood by disposing 
of goods for their masters at a 
third of the price they had 
formerly asked and obtained 
for themselves. The plausible 
sophistries of political economy 
celebrated the commercial revo- 
lution as a triumph of the 
division of labour; but its 
moral effect on the people was 
as far-reaching as it was per- 
nicious. Commercial power, 
hitherto divided with an ap- 
proach to equality among a 
thousand merchants, now rested 
with a few groups, who absorbed 
and magnified the profits due 
to the labours of their sub- 
ordinates. On these the status 
of inferiority, without respon- 
sibility or opportunity, worked 
its necessary effect : they no 
longer possessed that vigour of 
character which is nourished 
by the consciousness of self 
dependence and the habit of in- 
dividual judgment. When, as 
became ever more frequent, a 
great business was in the con- 
trol of a limited company, the 
rigour of subordination verged 
upon the hopelessness of serf- 
dom. The clerk of a personal 
employer might aspire for a 
partnership, and confidently de- 
mand humanity ; but the ser- 
vant of a body of directors 
sighed in vain for a position 



1899.] From the New Gibbon. 247 

either of authority or of reason- or empty frivolity. On her 
able comfort. In this organ- trivial excursions she would 
isation of business, the peculiar be accompanied by her young 
product of the Victorian age, children, which exposed their 
the sense of responsibility slipped delicate immaturity to cold 
from the directors as from the at the hours when it should 
directed : it was not their have been fortified by sleep, 
concern, so they argued, if The husband and father, no 
employees were underpaid or longer finding in his home 
the public cheated ; all that the companionship craved by 
was done was in the name and his brief hours of relaxation, 
the interests of the shareholders, sought it with better success. 
These, in their turn, passing at one of the gaudy public- 
back their consciences to the houses, whose lights at the 
directors, were satisfied to cloak corner of every street attested 
their vicarious wickedness with the vices and the misfortunes 
a convenient ignorance. of the poor. The happy home 
While the fires of ambition of the British plebeian passed 
were extinguished in the breasts from a reality to a proverb 
of the lower, and the voice of and from a proverb to a fable, 
conscience silenced among the and the fair picture of the past 
higher, circles of commerce, a gave place to a blur of drunk- 
particular corruption was re- enness, indolence, and disease, 
served for the consumers. The prevailing deteriora- 
The wives of artisans and tion, which did not overlook 
labourers had hitherto looked the lowest, fastened greedily 
to their own industry for the upon the highest ranks of the 
clothing of themselves and population. The Court, as a 
their children, as the smaller standard of polite manners, 
conveniences of the slender had almost ceased to exist. The 
household had been made in retired life of the venerable Vic- 
moments of leisure by the toria during her later years left 
labour of the husband. The the leadership of fashion vacant, 
new methods of trading cheap- and the landed nobility was too 
ened everything, and especially impoverished, as well as too 
clothing, to a price within the proud, to struggle for the vice- 
compass of the poorest ; but in gerency. The field of so-called 
doing so it rudely broke the society was left open to any 
tie which bound the lower adventurer with the effrontery 
classes to their homes. The to usurp it. Thus arose an in- 
wife, who had been wont to ner circle of fashion, or, to call 
pass the evening in the man- it by its contemporary and more 
ufacture of garments for her appropriate name, of smartness, 
children, now bought them at based neither upon birth nor 
some great emporium ; and, elegance of manners, nor even 
emancipated at once from the invariably upon wealth, but 
necessity of work and the rather upon a bold and clever 
practice of frugality, devoted arrogance, and supported in 
the evenings to idle gossip the general estimation mainly 



248 



From the New Gibbon. 



[Feb. 



by brazen advertisement. An 
aristocracy of birth may be un- 
intelligent, but it has usually 
fixed and sustained a high 
standard of deportment and, 
within certain limitations, of 
conduct. But a society like 
that of London, where the loud- 
est voice was the most eagerly 
listened to, was immediately 
fatal to every canon of propriety 
and good taste. In effrontery 
of demeanour, in licence of 
speech, in gaudiness of dress, 
in the very use of paints and 
cosmetics, the English women 
of fashion drifted farther and 
farther from their fathers' mod- 
est ideal of a lady; till at length 
there was not wanting the final 
scandal of women with honest 
reputations studying and imi- 
tating, with a too easy fidelity, 
the costumes and allurements 
of the most notorious French 
courtesans. 

The love of letters might have 
been expected to oppose a bar- 
rier to the all -conquering vul- 
garity of the age. It was dif- 
fused over every class of society; 
the commonest labourers had 
acquired a taste for reading : 
Tennyson and Hall Caine were 
the theme of dissertations in 
the mining centres of the north 
and the pulpits of dissenting 
chapels. Never had books been 
so abundantly published or so 
widely read; the general aver- 
age of literary merit had never 
been so high ; but this age of 
mediocrity passed away without 
having produced a single writer 
of original genius, or who ex- 
celled in the arts of elegant 
composition. With the vast 
increase of readers promoted 
by the spread of elementary 



education, the social standing, 
as the monetary rewards, of 
authorship increased in equal 
proportion ; but this cause, while 
it lowered the standard of taste, 
at once inflamed the cupidity 
and diverted the ambitions of 
men of letters ; and what once 
had been a single-minded de- 
votion degenerated into a trade, 
pursued rather for its accidental 
emoluments than for its in- 
trinsic charm. The rates of 
pay of novelists were quoted by 
the agents like the prices of 
stock on the Exchange, or the 
chances of a horse-race ; and he 
who, by economising his genius, 
might have been a master, 
squandered his stores in profuse 
over-production. With the ple- 
thora of books came a surfeit 
of commentaries on work which 
juster canons would have left 
to the revision of posterity. 
A cloud of critics, of antho- 
logists, and of log-rollers dark- 
ened the face of letters, and 
upon the decline of genius soon 
followed the corruption of taste. 
The last outrage upon the 
language of Shakespeare and 
Fielding was a swarm of peri- 
odical leaflets concocted of il- 
literate novelettes, unmeaning 
statistics, American jests, and 
infantile puzzles: they were 
consumed in prodigious quanti- 
ties by the lower orders, and, 
by ruining the business of those 
who purveyed sincere if not 
masterly compositions, contrib- 
uted more than any other cause 
to the debasement and final ex- 
tinction of English letters. 

With the proud spirit of 
empire sunk into the narrow 
greed of the shareholder; with 
physical force at its ebb, sports 



1899.] 



From the New Gibbon. 



249 



corrupted, and martial spirit 
tamed ; with domestic business 
so organised that it stifled in- 
dividuality and fostered dis- 
honest miserliness among trad- 
ers, and invited the depravity 
of customers ; with elegant 
manners and polite letters a 
tasteless echo of the half-for- 
gotten past the British Empire 
entered upon the twentieth 
century under the gloomiest 
auspices. To the acuter eyes 
of succeeding generations that 
gloom is heightened by the re- 
flection that the mutterings of 
the coming earthquake were all 
unheard by contemporaries ; 
that they prided themselves on 
the greatness of their dominion, 
and hugged the specious per- 
fection of their civilisation. Yet 
decline was already accom- 
plished and irremediable, and 
fall was but too surely impend- 
ing. The fair city still stood, 



but men were wanting within 
it. Vulgarity, mediocrity, and 
cheapness had warped and 
stunted the most generous na- 
tures. The minds of all were 
reduced to the same level, the 
high spirit of empire evapor- 
ated, and little interests, with 
sordid emotions, inspired every 
soul. Civilisation had com- 
pleted its work in the suppres- 
sion of the individual, and the 
British, the most virile of bar- 
barians, the most forward and 
energetic of mankind, were dis- 
sipated by their very virtues as 
the first to experience the dire 
results of its consummation. 
The diminutive stature of man- 
kind "was daily sinking below 
the old standard; Britain was 
indeed peopled by a race of 
pigmies, and the puny breed 
awaited only the onset of the 
first crisis to become the woeful 
patient of defeat and ruin. . . . 



250 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



A DAUGHTER OF THE MUHAMMADANS. 



A STUDY FBOM THE LIFE. 

' Swift through the sky the vessel of the Suras 

Sails up the fields of ether like an Angel ; 
Rich is the freight, O Vessel, that thou bearest ! 

Womanly goodness ; 
All with which Nature halloweth her daughters, 

Tenderness, truth and purity and meekness, 
Piety, patience, faith, and resignation, 

Love and devotement. 

Ship of the Gods ! How richly art thou laden ! 
Proud of the charge, thou voyagest rejoicing ; 
Clouds float around to honour thee, and Evening 
Lingers in Heaven." 

The Curse ofKehama. 



THE sunset hour had come 
as I passed up the narrow track 
that skirted the river - bank, 
with a mob of villagers at my 
heels, old men who had seen 
many strange things in the wild 
days before the coming of the 
white men, dull peasants who 
seemed too stolid and stupid to 
have ever seen anything at all, 
and swaggering youngsters, 
grown learned in the mysteries 
of reading and writing, fresh 
from our schools, and prepared 
at a moment's notice to teach 
the wisest of the village elders 
the only proper manner in which 
an egg may be sucked. The 
rabble which every Malay vil- 
lage spews up nowadays when 
one chances to visit it is always 
composed of these elements, 
the old men, whose wisdom is 
their own, and of its kind deep 
and wide ; the middle-aged til- 
lers of the soil, who have no 
wisdom and desire none; the 
men of the younger generation, 
whose knowledge is borrowed 
and is extraordinarily imperfect 
of its kind. 

The glaring Eastern sun, 
sinking to its rest, blazed full 



in my eyes, dazzling me, anc 
thus I saw but dimly the figure 
that crossed the path in front 
of me, heading for the running 
water on my right. Silhou- 
etted blackly against the burn- 
ing disc in the west, it appeared 
to be the form of a woman, 
bowed nearly double beneath 
the weight of a burden slung 
in a cloth across her back a 
burden far too heavy for her 
strength. This, alas ! is a sight 
.only too common in Asiatic 
lands ; for if man must idle, 
women must work as well as 
weep until at last the time 
comes for the long, long sleep, 
under the spear -blades of the 
Idlang and the love -grass, in 
some shady nook in the little 
peaceful village burial-ground. 
Therefore I took no special 
notice of the figure moving 
painfully athwart the sun-glare 
ahead of me, until my arm was 
violently seized by the headman 
who was walking just behind me. 
"Have a care, Tti,an," he 
cried. "Have a care. It is 
Minah and her man. It is the 
sickness that is not good, the 
evil sickness. Go not nigh to 



1899.] 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



251 



her, Ttaaw, lest some evil thing 
befall." 

The instinct of the white 
man always bids him promptly 
disregard every warning that 
a native may give to him, and 
act in a manner diametrically 
opposed to that which a native 
may advise. This propensity 
has added considerably to the 
figures that represent the Euro- 
pean death - rate throughout 
Asia, and, incidentally, it has 
led to many of the acts of hero- 
ism that have won for English- 
men their Eastern empire. It 
has also set the native the hard 
task of deciding whether he is 
most astonished at the courage 
or the stupidity of the men 
who rule him. I have lived 
long enough among natives to 
know that there is generally a 
sound reason for any warnings 
that they may be moved to 
give ; but Nature, as usual, was 
stronger than common - sense, 
so I shook my arm free from 
the headman's grip, and walked 
up to the figure in front of me. 

It was, as I had seen, that of a 
woman bowed beneath a heavy 
burden a woman still young, 
not ill -looking, and with the 
truest, most tenderly feminine 
eyes that I think I have ever 
chanced upon. I only noticed 
this later, and perhaps a 
knowledge of her story helped 
them to quicken my percep- 
tions, but at the moment my 
attention was completely ab- 
sorbed by the strange bundle 
which she bore. It was a 
shapeless thing wrapped in an 
old cloth, soiled and tattered 
and horribly stained, which was 
slung over the woman's left 
shoulder, across her breast, and 



under her right armpit. Out 
of the bundle, just above the 
base of the woman's own neck, 
there protruded a head which 
lolled backwards as she moved 
grey white in colour, hairless, 
sightless, featureless, formless, 
an object of horror and repul- 
sion. Near her shoulders two 
stumps, armed with ugly bosses 
at their tips, protruded from 
the bundle, motiveless limbs 
that swayed and gesticulated 
loosely ; near her own hips two 
similar members hung down 
almost to the ground, dangling 
limply as the woman walked 
limbs that showed grey in the 
evening light, and ended in five 
whitish patches where the toes 
should have been. It was a 
leper far gone in the disease 
whom the woman was carrying 
riverwards. She did not pause 
when I spoke to her, rather she 
seemed to quicken her pace, and 
presently she and her burden, 
the shapeless head and limbs of 
the latter bobbing impotently 
as the jolts shook them, disap- 
peared down the shelving bank 
in the direction of the running 
water. 

I stood still where she had 
left me, horrified at what I had 
seen, for lepers, or indeed de- 
formed people of any kind, are 
remarkably rare among the 
healthy Malay villagers, and 
the unexpected encounter had 
shocked and sickened me. Of 
the men in the group behind 
me, some laughed, one or two 
uttered a few words of cheap 
jeer and taunt, every one of them 
turned aside to spit solemnly in 
token that some unclean thing 
had been at hand, and the 
headman, newly appointed and 



252 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



weighed upon by the sense of 
his responsibilities, whispered 
an apology in my ear. 

"Thy pardon, Than," he said. 
"'Tis an ill-omened sight, and 
verily I crave thy forgiveness. 
It is not fitting that she should 
thus pass and repass athwart 
the track, walked in by such as 
thou art, bearing so unworthy 
a load. I hope that thou wilt 
pardon her and the village. 
Truly she is a bad woman thus 
to bring this shame upon our 
folk." 

"Who is she?" I asked. 

" She is a woman of this 
village, one devoid of shame. 
And behold this day she hath 
smudged soot upon the faces of 
all our folk by thus wantonly 
passing across thy path with 
her man, the leper, and pres- 
ently I will upbraid her, yea, 
verily, I will upbraid her with 
pungent words ! " 

"Is she also unclean?" I 
asked. 

"No, Tdan, the evil sickness 
hath not fallen upon her yet. 
But her man is sore stricken, 
and though we, who are of her 
blood, plead with her unceas- 
ingly, bidding her quit this man, 
as by Muhammad's law she 
hath the right now to do, she 
will by no means hearken to 
our words; for, Tuan, she is a 
woman of a hard and evil heart, 
very obstinate and headstrong." 

He spoke quite simply the 
thought that was in his mind. 
In his eyes there was nothing of 
heroism, nothing of the glory of 
most tender womanhood, in the 
sight of this girl's self-sacrifice : 
to him and to his fellows her 
conduct was merely a piece of 
rank folly, the wanton whim of 



a woman deaf to the pleadings 
and persuasions of those who 
wished her well. He had even 
less sympathy with me when, 
regarding the matter from my 
own point of view, I spoke to 
him in her praise. 

"Of a truth," I said, "this 
woman of thy village is greater 
than any of her kind of whom I 
have heard tell in all this land 
of Pahang. Thy village, O 
Penghulu, hath a right to be 
proud of this leper's wife. I 
charge thee say no word of 
reproach to her concerning the 
crossing of my path, and give 
her this 'tis but a small sum 
and tell her that it is given in 
token of the honour in which I 
hold her." 

This unexpected way of re- 
garding a matter, which had 
long been a topic of conver- 
sation in the village, was al- 
together unintelligible to the 
Malays about me; but most of 
them had long ago abandoned 
the task of trying to understand 
the strange motions of the 
European mind, an endeavour 
which they had become con- 
vinced was hopeless. Money, 
however, is a valuable and hon- 
ourable commodity, and what- 
ever else he may fail to appre- 
ciate, this is a matter well 
within the comprehension of the 
Malay of every class. Even in 
the minds of the simplest vil- 
lagers, the possession of any- 
thing which is likely to bring in 
cash inspires something near 
akin to awe, and therefore my 
small gift had the effect of im- 
mediately drying up the under- 
current of taunts and jeers, at the 
expense of Minah and her hus- 
band which had been audible 



1899. 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



253 



among the headman's followers 
ever since the strange pair had 
come into view. Moreover, as 
I knew fuU well, the fact that I 
had spoken of her with words 
of praise, and had backed my 
remarks with silver, would do 
much to increase the import- 
ance of, and add to the consider- 
ation shown to, this brave wife 
by the people among whom she 
lived. 

"Tell her also," I said, as I 
got into my boat to begin the 
journey down stream " tell her 
also that if there be aught in 
which she standeth in need of 
my aid, now or hereafter, she 
hath but to come to me, or to 
send me word, and I will help 
her in her affliction according 
to the measure of my ability." 

" Tuan ! " cried an assenting 
chorus of villagers, as my boat 
pushed out from the bank and 
my men seized their paddles 
for the homeward row. And 
thus ended my first encounter 
with Minah, the woman of the 
Muhammadans, whom neither 
the threats of the village elders, 
the advice of her relations, the 
tears and entreaties of her 
sisters, nor the invitations of 
those who would have wed 
with her, had power to lure 
away from the side of the 
shapeless wreck of humanity 
whom she called husband. 

Later, I made it my business 
to inquire from those who knew 
concerning this woman and her 
circumstances, and all that I 
learned tended to increase the 
admiration which from the be- 
ginning I had felt for her. 

Like all Malay women, she 
had been married when hardly 



more than a child to a man 
whom she had barely seen to 
whom, prior to her wedding, 
she would not for her life have 
been guilty of the indecency of 
speaking a syllable. On a cer- 
tain day she had been decked 
out in all the finery and gold 
ornaments that her people could 
borrow from their neighbours 
for many miles around, had 
been placed upon a dais side 
by side with the man she was 
to wed, and had remained 
there in an agony of cramped 
limbs and painful embarrass- 
ment while the village-folk 
who represented all the world 
of which she had any know- 
ledge ate their fill of the rich 
viands set before them, and 
thereafter chanted discordantly 
many verses from the Kuran 
in sadly mispronounced Arabic. 
This terrible publicity, for one 
who had hitherto been kept in 
utter seclusion on the pdra, or 
shelf-like upper apartment, of 
her father's house, almost de- 
prived the dazed little girl of 
her faculties ; and she had been 
too abjectly frightened even to 
cry, far less to lift her eyes 
from her scarlet finger-tips, on 
which the henna showed like 
blood-stains, to steal a glimpse 
of the man to whose tender 
mercies her parents were sur- 
rendering her. 

Then, the wedding over with 
all its attendant ceremonies, for 
days she had been utterly miser- 
able. She was horribly afraid 
of her new lord, terrified almost 
to death, like a little bird in 
the hand of its captor. To 
this poor child, not yet in her 
" 'teens," a man and a stranger 
was much what the ogre of the 



254 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



fairy tales is to the imagina- 
tion of other little girls of about 
the same age in our nurseries 
at home, a creature all-power- 
ful, cruel, relentless, against 
whose monstrous strength her 
puny efforts at resistance could 
nought avail. All women who 
are wives by contract, rather 
than by inclination, experience 
something of this agony of fear 
when first they find themselves 
at the mercy of a man ; but for 
the girls of a Muhammadan 
population this instinctive dread 
of the husband has a tenfold 
force. During all the days of 
her life the woman of the Mu- 
hammadans has seen the power 
of the man undisputed and un- 
checked by the female members 
of his household ; she has seen, 
perhaps, her own mother put 
away, after many years of 
faithfulness and love, because 
her charms have faded and her 
lord had grown weary of her; 
she has seen the married women 
about her cowed by a word, or 
even a look, from the man who 
holds in his hands an absolute 
right to dispose of his wife's 
destiny; she has watched the 
men eating their meals apart 
alone, if no other member of 
the masculine sex chanced to 
be present, because, forsooth, 
women are deemed to be un- 
worthy to partake of food with 
their superiors ; and as a result 
of all these things, the woman of 
the Muhammadans has learned 
to believe from her heart that, 
in truth, man is fashioned in a 
mould more honourable than 
that in which the paltry folk 
of her own sex are cast, that 
he is indeed nobler, higher, 
greater in every way than 



woman ; and thus as she looks 
ever upwards at him the man 
dazzles her, and fills her simple, 
trustful soul with fear and awe. 
So poor little Minah had 
been frightened out of her wits 
by the bare thought of being 
handed over to a husband for 
his service and pleasure, and 
her gratitude to her man had 
been extravagant and passion- 
ate in its intensity when she 
found that he was unchangingly 
kind and tender to her. For 
Mamat, the man to whom 
this poor child had been so 
early mated, was a gentle, 
kind-hearted, tender -mannered 
fellow, a typical villager of the 
interior, lazy, indolent, and 
pleasure - loving, but courteous 
of manner, soft of speech, and 
caressing by instinct as are 
so many folk of the kindly 
Malayan stock. He too, per- 
haps, had been moved with 
pity for the wild -eyed little 
girl, who trembled when she 
addressed him in quavering 
monosyllables, and he found a 
new pleasure in soothing and 
petting her. And thus, little 
by little, his almost paternal 
feeling for his child- wife turned 
in due season to a man's strong 
love, and awoke in her breast 
a woman's passionate and en- 
thusiastic, devotion. So Mamat 
and Minah were happy for a 
space, although no children 
were born to them, and Minah 
fretted secretly, when the hut 
was still at night-time, for she 
knew that there was truth in 
what the women of the village 
whispered, saying that no wife 
might hope to hold the fickle 
heart of a man unless there 
were baby fingers to add their 



1899.] 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



255 



clutching grip to her own des- 
perate but feeble graspings. 

Two or three seasons had 
come and gone since the " Feast 
of the Becoming One" had 
joined Mamat and Minah to- 
gether as man and wife. The 
rich yellow crop in the rice- 
field had been reaped labori- 
ously ear by ear, and the good 
grain had been garnered. The 
ploughs had been set agoing 
once more across the dry 
meadows, and in the swamps 
the buffaloes had been made 
to dance clumsily by yelling, 
sweating men, until the soft 
earth had been kneaded into a 
quagmire. Then the planting 
had begun, and later all the 
village had marked with in- 
tense interest the growth and 
the development of the crop, 
till once more the time had 
arrived for the reaping, and 
again the ugly bark rice-stores 
were full to overflowing with 
fat yellow grain. Minah and 
Mamat had aided in the work 
of cultivation, and had watched 
Nature giving birth to her 
myriad offspring with unfail- 
ing regularity, and still no 
little feet pattered over the 
lath flooring of their hut, no 
little voice made merry music 
in their compound. Mamat 
seemed to have become more 
melancholy than of old, and 
he frequently returned from 
the fields complaining of fever, 
and lay down to rest tired and 
depressed. Minah tended him 
carefully, with gentle loving 
hands, but she told herself 
' that the day was drawing 
near which would bring the 
co-wife, who should bear sons 
to her husband, to oust her 



from Mamat's heart. There- 
fore, when her man was absent, 
she would weep furtively as she 
sat alone among the cooking- 
pots in the empty hut, and 
many were the vows of rich 
offerings to be devoted to the 
shrines of the local saints if 
only the joy of motherhood 
might be hers. 

One afternoon Mamat came 
back to the hut, and, as was his 
wont, for he was ever tender 
to his childless wife, and anxious 
to aid her in her work, he fell 
to boiling water at the little 
mud fireplace at the back of 
the central living-room, where 
Minah was cooking the evening 
meal. While he was so engaged 
his masculine fingers touched 
the pot clumsily, causing it to 
tip off the iron tripod upon 
\vhich it had been resting. The 
boiling water streamed over the 
fingers of his right hand, and 
Minah screamed shrilly in sym- 
pathy for the pain which she 
knew that he must be enduring; 
but Mamat looked up at her 
with wondering eyes. 

"What ails thee, Little 
One ? " he asked without a 
trace of suffering in his voice. 

"The water is boiling hot," 
cried Minah. " Ya Allah I 
How evil is my destiny that 
because, unlike other men, thou 
wouldst stoop to aid me in my 
work, so great a hurt hath be- 
fallen thee ! O, Weh, Weh, my 
heart is very sad because this 
trouble hath come to thee. Let 
me bind thy fingers; see, here 
is oil and much rag, clean and 
soft." 

"What ails thee, Little 
One?" Mamat asked again, 
staring at her uncomprehend- 



256 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



ingly. "I have suffered no 
hurt. The water was cold. 
See, I am unharmed. Look 
at my fing " 

His voice faltered, then his 
speech broke off, trailing away 
into inarticulate sounds, while 
he sat staring stupidly in 
mingled astonishment and fear 
at his scalded hands. The little 
hut was reeking with the odour 
sent up by that peeling skin 
and flesh. 

" What thing is this, Minah?" 
he asked presently in an awed 
whisper. " What thing is this, 
for in truth I felt no pain, and 
even now, though for certain 
the water is boiling, since my 
fingers are all a-frizzle, no pang 
hath come to me ? What is it, 
Minah?" 

Minah looked at the ugly 
hand her husband held out for 
her inspection, and she was as 
bewildered as he. "Perchance 
'tis some magic that thou hast 
learned that maketh the fire 
powerless to harm thee," she 
said simply. Magic is too com- 
mon and everyday a thing in 
the Malay peninsula for either 
Minah or Mamat to see any- 
thing extravagant in the idea. 
Mamat, indeed, felt rather flat- 
tered by the suggestion; but 
none the less he denied having 
had any dealings with the 
spirits, and for some weeks he 
thought little more about the 
discovery of his strange insen- 
sibility to pain. The sores on 
his hands, however, did not 
heal, and at length matters 
began to look serious, since he 
could no longer do his proper 
share of work in the fields. By 
Minah's advice the aid of a local 
medicine man of some repute 



was had recourse to, and for 
days the little house was noisy 
with the sound of old-world 
incantations, and redolent of 
heavy odours arising from the 
strange spices burning in the 
wizard's brazier. Mamat, too, 
went abroad with his hands 
stained all manner of unnatural 
hues, and "was deprived of most 
of the few things which render 
his rice palatable to an up- 
country Malay. 

For some weeks, as is the 
manner of his kind both in 
Europe and Asia, the medicine 
man struggled with the disease 
he half recognised, but lacked 
the courage to name ; and when 
at length disguise was no longer 
possible, it was to Minah that 
he told the truth told it with 
the crude and brutal bluntness 
which natives, and country-folk 
all over the world, keep for the 
breaking of ill tidings. He lay 
in wait for her by the little 
bathing-hut on the river-bank, 
where Minah was wont to fill 
the gourds with water for her 
house, and he began his tale 
at once, without preface or 
preparation. 

" Sister, it is the evil sick- 
ness, ' ' he said. ' ' Without doubt 
it is the sickness that is not 
good. For me, I can do nought 
to aid this man of thine ; where- 
fore give me the money that is 
due to me, and suffer me to 
depart, for I also greatly fear 
to contract the evil. And, sis- 
ter, it were well for thee to 
make shift to seek a divorce 
from Mamat speedily, as is 
permitted in such cases by the 
law, lest thou in like manner 
shouldst become afflicted with 
the sickness ; for this evil is- 



1899.] 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



257 



one that can in nowise be 
medicined, even if Petera Guru 
himself were to take a hand 
in the charming away of the 
bad humours." 

No one in Asia ever names 
leprosy. It is spoken of but 
rarely, and then by all manner 
of euphemisms, lest hearing its 
name pronounced, it should 
seek out the speaker and abide 
with him for ever. But when 
the words " the evil sickness " 
sounded in her ears, Minah 
understood, with a violent 
shock of most complete com- 
prehension ; and, alas for frail 
human nature, her first thought 
was for herself, and it sent a 
throb of relief, almost of joy, 
pulsing through her. Her man 
was a leper ! No woman would 
now be found to wed with him ; 
no co-wife would come into her 
life to separate her from her 
husband ; barren and childless 
though she be, the man she 
loved would be hers for all his 
days, and no one would arise to 
dispute her right, her sole right, 
to love and tend and cherish 
him. The medicine man turned 
away, and walked slowly up 
the path by the river -bank 
counting the coppers in his 
hand, and she stood where he 
had left her gazing after him, a 
prey to a number of conflicting 
emotions. Then a realisation 
of the pity of it overwhelmed 
her, a yearning, aching pity 
for the man she loved, and in 
an agony of self-reproach she 
threw herself face downward on 
the ground, among the warm, 
damp grasses, and prayed pas- 
sionately and inarticulately, 
prayed to the Leprosy itself, 
as though it were a sentient 



being, entreating it, if indeed it 
must have a victim, to take her 
and to spare her husband. She 
had not been taught, as Chris- 
tian women are, to turn to God 
in the hour of her despair ; and 
though she breathed out prayer 
and plaint as she lay upon the 
damp earth and tore at the lush 
grass, her thoughts were never 
for a moment directed heaven- 
wards. She was a woman of 
the Muhammadans, unskilled in 
letters, ignorant utterly of the 
teachings of her faith, and, like 
all her people, she was a Malay 
first, and a follower of the 
Prophet accidentally, and as 
it were by an afterthought. 
Therefore her cry was raised to 
the Demon of Leprosy, to the 
Spirits of Wind and Air, and 
to all manner of Unclean Crea- 
tures who should find no place 
in the mythology of a true 
believer. The old-world super- 
stitions, the natural religion of 
the Malays before ever the 
Arab missionaries came to tam- 
per with their simple paganism, 
always come uppermost in the 
native mind in time of stress or 
trouble, just as it is the natural 
man the savage that rises to 
the surface, through no matter 
what superimposed strata of 
conventionalism, in moments of 
strong emotion. But these 
things had power to help 
Minah but little, to comfort her 
not at all, and any strength 
that she gained during that 
hour which she spent prone, in 
agony and alone, came to her 
from her own brave and tender 
heart, that fountain of willing 
self - sacrifice and unutterable 
tenderness, the heart of a good 
and a pure woman. 



258 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



The evening sun was sink- 
ing redly when at last Minah 
gathered herself together, re- 
arranged her tumbled hair and 
crumpled garments ^vith deft 
feminine fingers, and turned 
her face towards her home. 
The moon had risen, and was 
pouring down its floods of pure 
light, softening and etherealis- 
ing all upon which it shone, and 
penetrating the chinks of the 
wattled walls in little jets and 
splashes of brightness, when 
Minah, tenderly caressing the 
head of her husband, which lay 
pillowed on her breast, whis- 
pered in his ears the words 
which revealed to him the full 
measure of his calamity. No 
more awful message can come 
to any man than that which 
makes known to him that he 
had been stricken by leprosy, 
that foulest, most repulsive, and 
least merciful of all incurable 
diseases; and Mamat, as he 
listened to his wife's whispered 
speech, cowered and trembled 
in the semi - darkness of the 
hut, and now and again, as he 
rocked his body to and fro, to 
and fro restlessly, he gave vent 
to a low sob of concentrated 
pain very pitiful to hear. 
Leprosy has a strange power 
to blight a man utterly, to rob 
him alike of the health and the 
cleanliness of his body, and of 
the love which has made life 
sweet to him ; for when the 
terror falls upon any one, even 
those who loved him best in 
the days when he was whole 
too often turn from him in 
loathing and fear. As slowly 
and with pain Mamat began 
to understand clearly, and 
understanding to realise the 



full meaning of the words that 
fell from his wife's lips, he 
drew hurriedly away from her, 
despite her restraining hands, 
and sat huddled up in a corner 
of the hut weeping the hard, 
deep-drawn tears that come to 
a grown man in the hour of 
his trial, bringing no relief, but 
merely adding one pang more 
to the intensity of his suffering. 
Vaguely he told himself that 
since Minah must be filled 
with horror at his lightest 
touch, since she would now 
most surely leave him, as she 
had a right to do, he owed it 
to himself, and to what little 
remnant of self-respect remained 
to him, that the first signal for 
withdrawal should be made by 
him. It would help to ease the 
path which she must tread, the 
path that was to lead her away 
from him for ever, if from the 
beginning he showed her plainly 
that he expected nothing but 
desertion, that she was free to 
go, to leave him, that he was 
fully prepared for the words 
that should tell him of her in- 
tention, though for the moment 
they still remained unspoken. 
Therefore, though Minah drew 
near to him, he repulsed her 
gently, and retired yet farther 
into the depth of the shadows, 
saying warningly 

"Have a care, lest thou also 
becomest infected with the 
evil." 

Again Minah moved towards 
him, with arms outstretched as 
though to embrace him, and 
again he evaded her. A little 
moonbeam, struggling through 
the interstices of the wattled 
walls, fell full upon her face, 
and revealed to him her eyes 



1899.] 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



259 



dewy with tears and yearning 
upon him with a great love. 
The sight was so unexpected 
that it came to him with the 
violence of a blow, sending a 
strange thrill through all his 
ruined body, and tightening 
something that seemed to grip 
his heart, so that he panted for 
breath like one distressed with 
running. 

" Have a care ! " he cried 
again, but Minah took no heed 
of his warning. 

"What care I?" she cried. 
" What care I ? Thinkest thou 
that my love is so slight a thing 
that it will cleave to thee only 
in the days of thy prosperity ? 
Am I like unto a woman of 
the town, one who loveth only 
when all be well, and the silver 
dollars be many and bright ? 
Am I such a one, who hath no 
care save only for herself? O 
Mamat, my man of mine ! 
After these years that we have 
lived together in love dost thou 
know me so little, me thy wife, 
that thou thinkest that I will 
willingly leave thee because, 
forsooth, the evil spirits have 
caused this trouble to befall 
ihee ? Weh, I love thee, I love 
;hee, I love thee, and in truth 

cannot live without thee ! 

>me to me, Weh, come to me." 
aid again she held out her 
irms towards him, entreating 
tenderly. 

For long Mamat resisted, 
ighting against the temptation 
sturdily for the sake of the love 
that he bore her, but at length 
the longing for human sym- 
pathy and for comfort in his 
great affliction a desire which, 
in time of trouble, a man feels 
as instinctively as does the 



little child that having come 
by some hurt runs to its mother 
to be petted into forgetfulness 
of the pain proved too strong 
for him, and he sank down, 
sobbing unrestrainedly, with his 
head in Minah' s lap, and her soft 
hands fondling and caressing 
him. 

And thus it came about 
that Minah made the great 
sacrifice, which in a manner 
was to her no sacrifice, and 
her husband brought himself 
to accept what to him was 
more precious than anything 
upon earth. 

Two or three years slid by after 
this, and as Minah watched 
her husband she marked the 
subtle changes of the disease 
to which he was a prey 
working their cruel will upon 
him. He had been far gone 
in the disease even before the 
medicine man had mustered 
courage to name it, and for 
many months after the dis- 
covery little change was notice- 
able. Then, as is its wont, 
the leprosy, as though ashamed 
of such prolonged inactivity, 
took a stride forward, then 
halted again, then advanced 
once more, but this time with 
more lagging feet, then came 
to a standstill for a space, 
then moved onward yet again. 
Thus, though the alterations 
wrought by the ravages of the 
disease were cruel and terrible, 
to Minah, who marked each 
change take place gradually, 
step by step, beneath her eyes, 
underlying the grey feature- 
less face, in the blind eye- 
sockets, the aimless swaying 
limbs that were now mere 



260 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



stumps, she saw as clearly as 
of old the face, the glance, 
the gestures that had been 
those of her husband, and 
seeing this she loved this 
formless thing with the old 
passion of devotion and ten- 
derness. He was utterly de- 
pendent on her now. Twice 
daily she bore him on her 
back down to the river's edge, 
and bathed him with infinite 
care. To her there seemed 
nothing remarkable in the 
act. She had done it for 
the first time one day long 
ago when his feet were pecu- 
liarly sore and uncomfortable, 
had done it laughingly half 
in jest, and he had laughed 
too, joining in her merriment. 
But now it was the only 
means of conveying him river- 
wards, and she carried him on 
lier back unthinkingly, as a 
matter of course. In the 
same way she had come to 
dress and feed him, first half 
laughingly, before there was 
any real necessity for such 
help, but latterly his limbs 
had grown to be so useless 
that without her aid he would 
have gone naked and have 
died of starvation. Allah or 
the Spirits Minah was never 
sure which of the twain had 
the larger share in the arrange- 
ments of her world had not 
seen fit to send her a child in 
answer to her prayer, but she 
never lamented the fact now. 
Was not Mamat husband and 
child in one? And did she 
not empty all the stores of her 
love, both wifely and motherly, 
upon him, who needed her 
more sorely than a baby could 
have done, and loved her with 



the strength of a man and 
with the simplicity of a child ? 
She never knew fatigue when 
Mamat needed tending ; she 
never knew sorrow when he 
was free from pain; she asked 
for no joy save that of being 
near him. All the womanli- 
ness in her nature, purified 
and intensified by her sad 
experience, rose up in the 
heart of this daughter of the 
Muhammadans, fortifying her 
in trial, blinding her to the 
nobility of her own self-sac- 
rifice, obliterating utterly all 
thought of her own comfort, 
her own feelings and desires, 
filling her with a great con- 
tent, and making the squalor 
of her life a thing most beau- 
tiful. Her only sorrow was 
that she was often forced to 
absent herself from the house 
in order to take the share in 
the field-work which, under 
happier circumstances, should 
have been performed by her 
husband ; but the kindly vil- 
lagers, who pitied her in their 
hearts, though they could not 
repress an occasional jeer at 
her eccentric devotion to a 
leper, lightened her tasks for 
her as much as was possible, 
so that she found her fields 
tilled, the crop weeded, and 
the precious rice grain stored, 
with so little labour on her 
part that the whole operation 
appeared to have been done, 
as it were, automatically. And 
thus Minah and her man spent 
many years of the life which 
even the Demon of Leprosy 
had been powerless to rob of 
all its sweetness. 

It was some years after the 



1899.] 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



261 



white men had entered Pahang 
for the purpose of quieting that 
troubled land that a new grief 
came to Minah, tightening her 
heart-strings with an anxiety 
hitherto undreamed of. Men 
whispered in the villages that 
the strange pale-faced folk who 
now ruled the land had many 
laws unknown to the old rajas, 
unhallowed by custom, not 
beautified by age or tradition, 
and that one of these provided 
for the segregation of lepers. 
At first Minah could not believe 
her ears when the village elders, 
mumbling their discontent con- 
cerning a thousand lying ru- 
mours, spoke also of this meas- 
ure, which, so men said, was 
very shortly to become law in 
the State of Pahang. What? 
Separate her from her man? 
Tear him away from her, leav- 
ing her desolate and utterly 
alone, while he, having none to 
tend him, "would die miserably, 
crying vainly for her in the 
tones that none but she could 
now interpret ? An agony of 
consternation racked her at the 
picture which the words of the 
village elders conjured up. She 
was wellnigh distraught with 
fear, but in her heart there was 
also a wild desire to fight to the 
death to save her man from 
this bitter wrong, to fight as 
does the tigress in defence of her 
little ones. 

Minah managed with some 
difficulty to persuade and bribe 
an old crone to tend Mamat for 
a day or two. Then she set off 
for Kuala Lipis, the town at 
which the white men, she had 
heard men say, had their head- 
quarters. Until she started 
upon this journey she had never 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



left her own village, and to her 
the twenty odd miles of river 
that separated her home from 
the town were a road of won- 
der through an undiscovered 
country. The ordered streets of 
the town; the brick buildings, 
in which the Chinese traders 
had their shops; the lamp-posts ; 
the native policemen standing at 
the corners of the road shame- 
less folk, who wore trousers but 
no protecting sdrong ; the vast 
block of Government offices, for 
to her this far -from -imposing 
pile seemed a stupendous piece 
of architecture ; the made road, 
smooth and metalled, the won- 
der and the strangeness of it all 
dazed and frightened her. What 
could the white men, who had 
so many marvellous things, want 
with her poor man, the leper, 
that they should desire to take 
him from her? Ah, it was 
cruel, cruel, more merciless and 
wanton than any of the deeds of 
the old rajas, concerning which 
men still told grisly tales with 
bated breath ! 

She asked for me, since I had 
bade her come to me in trouble, 
and presently she made her way 
along the unfamiliar roads to 
the big house on the river-bank, 
round which the forest clustered 
so closely in the beauty that no 
hand was suffered to destroy. 
She sat upon the matting on 
my study floor, awed at the 
strangeness of it all, looking at 
me plaintively out of those great 
eyes of hers, and weeping fur- 
tively. She had the simple 
faith of one who has lived all 
his days in the same spot, 
whither few strangers go, where 
each man knows his neighbour 
and his neighbour's affairs. It 
S 



262 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



[Feb. 



never occurred to her that her 
words might need explanation 
or preface of any kind, in order 
that they might be rendered 
intelligible, and as she looked 
at me, she sobbed out her prayer, 
" O suffer me to keep my man 
and my children, O suffer them 
not to be taken from me ! 
Allah, Titan, suffer me to keep 
my man and my children!" 

I knew, of course, that she 
spoke of her " man and her 
children " simply for the sake of 
decorum, since it is coarse and 
indecent, in the eyes of an up- 
country woman, to speak of her 
husband alone, even though she 
be childless ; but for the moment 
I supposed that she was the 
wife of some man accused of a 
crime, who had come to me 
seeking the aid I had not the 
power to give. 

"What has thy man done?" 
I asked. 

"Done, Tuan? What could 
he do, seeing that he is as one 
dead? Unless one lifted him 
he could not move. But suffer 
him not to be taken from me. 
He is all I have, all I have, and 
in truth I cannot live without 
him. I shall die, Tuan, I shall 
die, if thou dost suffer this thing 
to come to pass." 

Then suddenly the mist ob- 
scuring my memory rolled away, 
and I saw the face of the woman, 
as I had seen it once before, 
straining under a terrible burden 
on the banks of the Jelai river, 
with the red sky and the dark 
green of the foliage making a 
background against which it 
stood revealed. Then at last 
I understood, and the sight of 
this woman's distress moved me 
strangely. 



"Have no fear, sister," I 
said. "Thy man shall not be 
taken from thee if I can do 
aught to prevent it. Who is 
it that seeks to separate thee 
from him?" 

" Men say that it is an order." 
To the Oriental an order is a 
kind of impersonal monster, 
invincible and impartial, a 
creature that respects no man 
and is cruel to all alike. 

" Have no fear," I said. " It 
is true that I have bidden the 
headman of the villages report 
as to the number of those 
afflicted by the evil sickness, 
but in this land of Pahang the 
number is very small, the infec- 
tion does not spread, and 
therefore, sister, have no fear, 
hearken to my words, the Gov- 
ernment hath no desire to sep- 
arate thee from thy man. Re- 
turn in peace to thy home, and 
put all fear away, and if aught 
cometh to trouble thee, I am at 
hand to listen to thy plaint." 

The lives of all of us, we men 
whom Fate has exiled to the 
uttermost ends of the earth, 
hold many days in which Dis- 
content, born of an aching long- 
ing for all the things from which 
we are severed, and the Despair 
that the question Cui Bono? 
Cui Bono ? brings to life, play 
at battledore and shuttlecock 
with our tired hearts. They 
are evil days, weary and dark, 
and we fight through them as 
best we can, we who are blessed 
with stamina, while they cram 
our churchyards with the bones 
of those amongst us who are 
fashioned too delicately for such 
rough handling. These dark 
hours of the exile are a trial 
which can never be appreciated 



1899.] 



A Daughter of the Muhammadans. 



263 



by any one who has not him- 
self been subjected to the cruel 
strain. They crush the spirit 
from out the heart, and make 
life for the moment an empty 
thing and vain. At such times 
I like to seek comfort in the rec- 
ollection of the few brown faces 
into which some word or action 
of mine has brought the light 
that otherwise had not been 
kindled, and it is then that 
Minah's face rises before my 
mind's eye, her features trans- 
formed by an ecstasy of relief, 
her great soft eyes dewy with 
unshed tears, her lips trying 
vainly to speak the words of 
gratitude which the strength 
and violence of her emotions 
will not suffer her to utter. I 
had done nothing for her? 
True, but to her it seemed as 
though I had given her back all 
the joy in life, had turned her 
world from sombre indigo to 
gorgeous rose - colour in the 
space of a moment. I had done 
nothing truly ; but it is some- 
thing to have been the means 
of bringing a look such as that 
to the face of a good woman. In 
memory I find compensation 




for much, nor care greatly if 
some there be to whom such a 
feeling may appear ridiculous. 

So Minah returned to her 
home with joy in her heart and 
that glad look upon her face ; 
and in that secluded up-country 
village, not twenty miles from 
the place where I sit writing 
these lines, she still toils un- 
ceasingly, tending the wrecked 
creature, that is still to her the 
man she loves, with unfailing 
tenderness and care. Men say 
that he can live but a few 
months longer, and it wrings 
my heart to think of what the 
loss will be to Minah when, to 
use the Malayan idiom, " the 
order comes" to her man. In 
that hour of utter desolation and 
profound loneliness no human 
voice will have the power to 
bring that beautiful look of 
gladness back to Minah's eyes ; 
and of a Divine Voice this 
daughter of the Muhammadans, 
in spite of her pure soul and 
her brave heart, has no know- 
ledge from which to seek con- 
solation. 

HUGH CLIFFORD. 



264 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



[Feb. 



UNDER THE BEARD OF BUCHANAN. 



"WHAT charm can soothe our melan- 
choly, 
What art can wash our grief away ? " 

is unquestionably the problem 
of the day, and happy will be 
the literary agent who can solve 
it. Our writers have become 
grave as judges, and their occa- 
sional deviations into the sadly 
humorous are received with the 
lenient enthusiasm of a wearied 
court - room. A live rabbit 
under the partially exhausted 
receiver of an air-pump exhibits 
a melancholy excitement that is 
almost equalled in pathos by the 
conduct of the general reader in 
the present rarefied atmosphere 
of humour. We are fain to 
laugh at the most unconsidered 
trifles. To" such a pass have 
we come, that men have re- 
cently been seen to smile at 
Mr Frank Harris's Shake- 
spearian criticism, and to laugh 
immoderately at Canon Rawns- 
ley's daily sonnet. The only 
fear is that Mr Jerome and his 
merry men should again take 
advantage of our necessity. We 
want humour, it is true ; but 
heaven protect us from a re- 
crudescence of the late New 
Humour, which, after all, was 
never really "new," but only 
an Anglified and diluted form 
of the Transatlantic substitute 
for wit. Oh for an hour of 
Thackeray or Dickens ! But 
Melancholy, it would seem, has 
marked us for her own. 

We had fondly harboured the 
delusion that the problem novel 
had gone to its long home with 
the trunk-maker, and lo ! it is 
with us again in a subtly dis- 



guised but no less baneful form. 
Having toyed with adultery, 
our lady novelists seem to have 
become enamoured of suicide. 
Mrs Humphry Ward made 
away with her latest heroine, 
and that none too soon. We 
contemplated the change with 
an equanimity which we cannot 
profess to feel for the new 
writer who has recently, in a 
work of great ability, put the 
justification of suicide forward 
as 'The Open Question.' The 
ability of the book, and, alas! 
its earnestness, are only too 
apparent ; but neither of these 
can extenuate the offence of an 
author who, appealing to a 
popular audience, dares lightly 
to tamper with the very founda- 
tions of morality, and vitiates 
the public mind with a study 
in mental pathology, tricked 
out in the guise of fiction. We 
do not envy C. E. Raimond her 
responsibility. It is a fascinat- 
ing subject, truly ! the painfully 
minute record of two neurotic 
and decadent lovers who marry 
for mutual gratification, and 
resolve to die together before 
their hereditary curse can be 
bequeathed to another genera- 
tion. A brave and inspiriting 
gospel this, "which to the ques- 
tion whether life is "worth living 
answers, Yes provided that we 
realise clearly that the duration 
of life is in our own hands. A 
more pitiful shadow of a man 
than Ethan Gano never trod 
the stage of feminine fiction, 
and were it not for the insidious 
moral of his puling life, we 
should heartily applaud the 



1899.] 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



265 



osing scene where much 
,gainst his own will, be it said 
he finally "steers for the 
Sunset." The only redeem- 
g character in the book is 
brave old Mrs Gano, a mother 
worthy of a Gracchus, and all 
too tolerant of her own miser- 
able brood. "You walk in 
darkness," said the old woman 
on her deathbed. " Not the 
fear of God that's tonic but 
in the fear of pain. Oh, I've 
watched this phase of modern 
life. It's been coming, coming 
for years. The world to-day is 
crushed and whining under a 
load of sentimentality. People 
presently will be afraid to move, 
lest they do or receive some 
hurt." The vigorous excellence 
shown in the drawing of this 
character leaves a loophole of 
escape for C. E. Eaimond, in 
that it sometimes raises a doubt 
whether we are to read her con- 
[ariwise, and regard the book 
a satire of decadence. But 
lis is only a charitable and for- 
lorn hope ; and if it be correct, it 
">ut serves to show that she has 
indled deadly weapons which 
ie cannot use without en- 
mgering the public safety, 
lere is only one natural in- 
jrpretation of her book, and it 
fraught with the poisonous 
dr of a hothouse philosophy. 

Thackeray, we stake the re- 
)utation of ' Maga ' on it, knew 
a great deal more about the 
humour and the tragedy of hu- 
man life than C. E. Kaimond; 
and to all poor souls who have 
read 'The Open Question' we 
would commend his summary 
of problem fiction as a sovereign 
antidote : 

" Werther had a love for Charlotte 
Such as words could never utter ; 



Would you know how first he met 

her? 
She was cutting bread-and-butter. 

Charlotte was a married lady, 
And a moral man was Werther, 
And, for all the wealth of Indies, 
Would do nothing for to hurt her. 

So he sighed and pined and ogled, 
And his passion boiled and bubbled, 
Till he blew his silly brains out, 
And no more was by it troubled. 

Charlotte, having seen his body 
Borne before her on a shutter, 
Like a well-conducted person, 
Went on cutting bread-and-butter." 

We are bound to say, however, 
that recent fiction also offers us 
several excellent antidotes for 
this nauseating stuff, and we 
deemed ourselves fortunate when 
chance made us acquainted with 
the tenth edition of the story of 
' Isabel Carnaby ' a most viva- 
cious and entertaining book. It 
has all the charm, if all the faults, 
of youth, and we gladly forgive 
a conventional plot for so much 
sprightly dialogue. Miss Fow- 
ler to use the latest Fleet 
Street jargon has "arrived," 
and " should go far " ; but we 
would respectfully suggest that 
she would go still farther were 
she to cease to use "like" for 
"as," and were she to add to 
the many "excellencies" of her 
work the purely masculine vir- 
tue of correct spelling. Some 
of the same magic of youth 
which gives its perennial charm 
to ' Mona Maclean ' has dis- 
appeared from Graham Tra- 
vers's ' Windyhaugh ' ; but we 
are fully recompensed by an 
infinitely more matured skill, a 
more subtle humour, a pro- 
founder insight into life. There 
is perhaps enough and to spare 
of psychology in Dr Todd's 



266 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



[Feb. 



remarkable book, but it is all 
of the right kind ; and there is 
not in English fiction a more 
careful and penetrating analysis 
of the evolution of a woman's 
mind than is given in Wilhel- 
mina Galbraith. But 'Windy- 
haugh ' is not a book in which 
there is only one " star " and a 
crowd of " supers." Every 
character is limned with the 
conscientious care that bespeaks 
the true artist, and the analyt- 
ical interest of the novel is 
rigorously kept in its proper 
place as only one element hi a 
delightful story. It is a su- 
premely interesting and whole- 
some book, and in an age when 
excellence of technique has 
reached a remarkable level, 
1 Windyhaugh ' compels ad- 
miration for its brilliancy of 
style. 

Dr Todd paints on a large 
canvas, but she has a true sense 
of proportion the want of 
which alone prevents Mr Eden 
Philpott's 'Children of the Mist ' 
from being one of the finest 
novels of its year. The roman- 
tic atmosphere he has and all 
the literary endowment, but he 
has smothered a brilliant novel 
under a plethora of detail. As 
compared with either of these, 
Miss May Sinclair is a minia- 
turist ; but it would be difficult 
to praise too highly her bril- 
liantly clean - cut portraiture, 
and her bold and successful 
handling of an unattractive 
subject, in ' Mr and Mrs Nevill 
Tyson.' The story is a little 
masterpiece, and the literary 
epicure will find a rich feast in 
its gracefully easy and pungent- 
ly witty style. But of all the 
literary feats of the year one of 
the most remarkable has surely 



been achieved by Mr Alfred 
Ollivant, who has contrived to 
make a most absorbing story 
out of but three characters 
two of them being sheep-dogs 
and the other an irascible little 
Scotsman. We are not sur- 
prised to see that Mr Ollivant 
has also been duly told that he 
will " go far," for we are almost 
ready to go the length of saying 
that in 'Owd Bob' he has 
already " been and gone and 
done it." Ked Wull and Owd 
Bob are the best dogs on paper, 
and we honestly prefer them 
to most of their human con- 
temporaries in fiction. If we 
have a fault to find, it is that 
Mr Ollivant, like Landseer, de- 
bases his dogs by making them 
too human for an ordinary 
kennel ; and we should have 
liked Owd Bob all the better 
had he been less circumspect 
and gentlemanly in his walk 
and conversation in life. None 
the less, the death of Ked Wull 
is Homeric. 

The year of grace 1898 will 
stand out prominently hi the 
literary history of Poor Jack 
Once more the spirit of the age 
has found literary expression, 
and the result is a whole revolv- 
ing bookcaseful of literature, 
highly charged with the spirit 
of Imperialism. Taking it all 
in all, the literature is worthy 
of the sentiment. The keynote 
is struck on " Drake's Drum," a 
magnificent song by Mr Henry 
Newbolt, which will ensure him 
a place in all future an- 
thologies side by side with 
Thomas Campbell. 
Fighting Temeraire " and " The 
Ballad of the Bold Menelaus" 
are only a degree less success- 
ful, and throughout all three 



1899. 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



267 



there runs a haunting rhythm 
that will swing them worthily 
into immortality. Mr Newbolt 
may surely be content, and we 
are sorry to find him flogging 
and spurring his jaded muse. 
Only once or twice in a lifetime 
can he hope to reach so high a 
mark, and he imperils his own 
reputation by presenting ay, 
and representing his un- 
doubted masterpieces in a set- 
ting of uninspired and un- 
worthy doggerel. With a com- 
manding rhythm Mr Newbolt 
can always be the Kipling of 
the Fleet : without one, he is no 
better than a poetaster. Mr 
Kipling's own contribution to 
naval literature, "A Fleet in 
Being," is not likely to add to 
his reputation although it 
might easily make one for a 
lesser name. In a word, it is 
not quite the sort of thing that, 
like Mr Steevens's tour deforce, 
has recently on two occasions 
"brought the blood to the 
cheek " of the ' Spectator.' And 
yet nobody but Mr Kipling 
could have written it, and we 
gladly confess that its perusal 
left us so full of pride in our 
first line of defence that we felt 
for the moment a perfect 
readiness to submit to a doub- 
ling of the income-tax. And 
that is surely fame ! 

Mr G. Stewart Bowles and 
Mr W. F. Shannon describe 
respectively the humours of 
the " gun-room " and the " mess 
deck," and between them we feel 
that we have learned all that 
is worth knowing of what Lord 
Charles calls "the many-sided 
life of a seaman, with its chance 
and charm, its hardships, its 
occasional pleasures and pas- 
times, and its dangers and un- 



foreseen contingencies at all 
times." Mr Bowles is obvi- 
ously a youthful and enthusi- 
astic understudy of Mr Kip- 
ling, and he strikes no new 
note ; but his descriptions are 
always naively entertaining, as 
his imitations are often clever. 
Mr Shannon, also, is an imi- 
tator ; but more than one of his 
yarns is almost worthy of Mr 
Jacobs, and we can pay him no 
higher compliment. Very dif- 
ferent is the story which Mr 
Harry Yandervell has to record 
in his unique * Shuttle of an 
Empire's Loom.' The "liner 
she's a lady" we know on Mr 
Kipling's authority, and by 
the same reckoning the man-o'- 
war's a gentleman ; but it was 
on neither of these, but on a 
common vagabond of a cargo- 
boat, that Mr Vandervell, shak- 
ing the dust of the Stock Ex- 
change oft his feet, elected to 
take his pleasure seriously by 
signing on as a man before the 
mast. As we have said, the 
record is unique, and it reflects 
equal credit on Mr Vandervell's 
sense of humour and on the 
sterling good qualities of our 
common sailors that the story 
is as entertaining as it is. The 
' Shuttle of an Empire's Loom ' 
has every claim to be called a 
"human document," and it is 
calculated to reassure those 
who delight to paint our mer- 
chant service blacker than it is. 
The British tar, whether he 
be taken from the "Queen's 
Navee " or a common cargo- 
boat, has at least two points in 
common unfailing pluck and 
indomitable good-humour. 

It is the humorous side of 
sea-life alone that Mr Jacobs 
depicts, but within his limits 



268 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



[Feb. 



he has no equal. Mr Gilbert's 
test of humour, if we remem- 
ber rightly, was its capacity 
to make a prisoner smile. 
We applied a severer test by 
taking up ' Many Cargoes ' 
in a dyspeptic moment, and 
we gladly testify that as a 
universal remedy for depres- 
sion it is worth a guinea a 
page. l The Skipper's Wooing ' 
was no less successful, although 
its humour had broadened into 
farce, and it was with some 
disappointment that we found 
ourselves reading ' Sea Urchins ' 
unmoved. But we took the 
best available remedy by read- 
ing ' Many Cargoes ' again, and, 
thanks to this admirable book, 
we who started on our quest of 
the humorous with such dismal 
forebodings, have ended it like 
the Yorkshireman by "larfing, 
and larfing, and larfing again." 
Melancholy men, according 
to Aristotle, of all others are 
most witty, and we could 
wish that the paradox were as 
true as it is comforting. But 
it would be unpardonable, even 
at a push, to extract a grain of 
comfort by simply converting 
an Aristotelian generalisation ; 
and we would rather seek an 
explanation for the prevailing 
dearth of humour in the fact 
that the average writer of to- 
day possesses what Mr Andrew 
Lang in happy English and 
quite unnecessary French has 
termed "the adorable faculty 
of taking himself au serieux" 
A singularly brilliant example 
of this faculty has been given 
to the world recently by Dr J. 
B. Crozier, who has made a 
gallant attempt to establish an 
autobiographical record in a 
volume of five hundred and 



fifty octavo pages eleven 
pages for every year of an 
uneventful life. This, we sub- 
mit, is monstrous ; and the 
value of the author's contribu- 
tions to philosophy cannot for 
a moment excuse so flagrant 
a literary indiscretion as is 
afforded in 'My Inner Life.' 
We have the less hesitation 
in using it to point our moral, 
as we have Dr Crozier 's assur- 
ance that he has learned to 
treat the " daemonic element " 
i.e., the apathy of publishers 
and public and the insolence of 
reviewers with " the indiffer- 
ence or contempt it deserves," 
an affectation that is neither 
impressive nor new. 

It takes more than two hun- 
dred crowded pages to describe 
the evolution of Dr Crozier's 
mind up to the age of twenty, 
and half as much again to re- 
count his literary misfortunes, 
which we may say at once pre- 
sent no deviation from the 
beaten track of literary experi- 
ence save in the immeasurable 
conceit of their telling a con- 
ceit so colossal that it would 
need the fountain-pen of a Hall 
Caine adequately to paint it. 
"I have often thought," says 
Dr Crozier, "that had Carlyle, 
Ruskin, Macaulay, Buckle, Mill, 
Lecky, Spencer, Morley, or 
Arnold started publishing their 
literary work to - day, they 
would have been practically ig- 
nored" like Dr Crozier, that 
is to say; for with unusual 
modesty he leaves it to the 
reader to supply the omission 
in this ingenious chain of 
reasoning. Deprecating, with 
a naivete worthy of genius, "the 
imputation of taking myself 
too seriously," the author gives 



1899. 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



269 



<a detailed account of how he 
vainly assailed the leading 
magazines with a short " Solu- 
tion of the World-problem" in 
an essay of twenty pages (a beg- 
garly allowance, truly, in light 
of the five hundred and fifty de- 
voted to the Evolution of the 
Mind of Dr Crozier !), and how 
he was invariably worsted by 
the "daemonic element." Then 
he bearded Carlyle, and found 
him "querulous, cantankerous, 
and altogether too critical and 
exacting for ordinary human- 
ity" too critical even for Dr 
Crozier, for the dyspeptic and 
sorely tried sage, parodying 
Jeffrey, closured our author's 
autobiographical confidences 
with a brusque "Na, na, that 
winna do." 

And Carlyle was not the 
only victim of Dr Crozier's 
attentions. We confess that 
we have seldom read anything 
with more amusement than the 
story of his amiable persecu- 
tion of authors, friends, and 
editors; and had there been 
only a little more of such sack 
and a less intolerable deal of 
stale bread, we could have 
found it possible to speak of 
this stately volume with en- 
thusiasm. The keynote of Dr 
Crozier's mental life, if we 
mistake not, is struck very 
early in the volume, where 
he confesses that he once 
made " a serious attempt to 
subjugate the vanity and con- 
ceit which were now at their 
flowering - time with me, and 
which I already felt to be 
reptiles throwing a trail of 
slime and baseness over all 
of good that I thought or did ; 
. . . but after several in- 
effectual attempts to eradicate 



the vice, I gave up the task 
as hopeless, and awaited a 
more propitious day." We 
shall be glad if we may in 
some degree hasten the advent 
of that propitious day, and we 
forgive much in * My Inner 
Life ' on account of the crown- 
ing horror which Dr Crozier 
has spared us. " In what 
other form," he asks, "than 
the autobiographical could I 
present my ideas unless indeed 
as a Novel, in which, however, 
for want of space, justice could 
only be done to a small division 
of the subject." 

It is with a distinct feeling 
of relief that we turn from the 
vainest of mortals to the great- 
est and most inscrutable im- 
mortal. While Dr Crozier 
"abides [nay, anticipates] our 
question," our Shakespeare still 
" is free . . . out - topping 
knowledge " even the know- 
ledge possessed by Mr Sidney 
Lee. Were ' Maga ' to " crown " 
the best book of the past year, 
she would not hesitate to select 
Mr Lee's 'Life of William 
Shakespeare.' This masterly 
work is an honour to English 
scholarship, an almost perfect 
model of its kind, and it is 
matter for great national re- 
joicing that the standard life 
of Shakespeare has at last been 
"made in England." Rarely 
have we seen a book so wholly 
satisfying, so admirably planned, 
so skilfully executed. Mr Lee 
makes no attempt to offer us 
aesthetic criticism, and in this 
lies the great excellence of his 
plan, for we have hitherto had 
enough and to spare of " imag- 
inative insight " and all too little 
of accurate and well - digested 
facts. Accordingly, it is im- 



270 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



[Feb. 



possible to rate too highly this 
"guide-book to Shakespeare's 
life and work," which impresses 
the reader at once by its re- 
markable width and accuracy 
of learning, its marvellously 
lucid marshalling of intricate 
details, and the unfailing so- 
briety and modesty of its style. 
The only portions of the book 
that are really open to criticism 
are the few occasions on which 
Mr Lee, departing somewhat 
from his original design, defin- 
itely enters the field of contro- 
versy; and though no one has 
a better right to be heard on 
these matters, we are inclined 
to think that it would have 
been better for Mr Lee to main- 
tain consistently his rdle as the 
impartial historian of every- 
thing relating to Shakespeare. 
Dr Robertson Nicoll has re- 
cently been promulgating the 
very disputable theory that a 
critic should be set to catch 
a critic, and granting his 
theory justly pluming him- 
self on having elicited Pro- 
fessor Dowden's opinion of Mr 
Lee's achievement. The in- 
stance adduced does not inspire 
us with much confidence in the 
proposition, for, as might have 
been expected, the professor re- 
views only those portions of the 
book which are really extra- 
neous to its real design, and 
pays but halting tribute to its 
total excellence. True, Mr Lee, 
while always ingenious, is not 
always convincing in his posi- 
tive criticism, and his argument 
in favour of Barnabe Barnes 
affords no adequate reason for 
departing from Professor Minto's 
identification of Chapman with 
the " rival poet " of the Sonnets. 
On other disputed points, Mr 



Lee seems to us far more 
cogent, and his interpretation 
of the Sonnets is the most 
reasonable and most convincing 
that has yet been put forward. 
But most of these points are 
likely to remain for all time sub 
judice, and we trust that their 
final settlement may be long 
delayed, if for no other reason 
than to continue and stimulate 
our critical interest in Shake- 
speare. We emphatically re- 
peat, however, that these ques- 
tions do not enter into an 
estimate of the new Life of 
Shakespeare. Mr Lee modest- 
ly hopes that his work may be 
found " a complete and trust- 
worthy guidebook," and it is 
assuredly that, and a great 
deal more. It is an absolute- 
ly indispensable handbook for 
every intelligent reader of the 
plays. 

The industry of biographers 
has of late been pressing hardly 
on the memory of Robert Louis 
Stevenson, whom so many 
writers persist in referring to 
as R. L. S. an affectation 
which does not make for the 
dignity of letters. We hope 
and trust that, when the time 
comes, Mr Sidney Colvin may 
deal as faithfully by R. L. S. as 
Mr Sidney Lee has by W. S., 
or Mrs Ritchie by W. M. T. 
So far, however, we have little 
to be thankful for in the way 
of Stevensonian biography, if 
we except Mr Henley's very 
masterly and virile portrait in 
verse. Professor Raleigh, whom 
the reviewers, not without jus- 
tice, term the Lyly of to-day, 
has discoursed in a vein of 
three-piled hyperbole, but the 
volume remarkable chiefly for 
its wealth of mixed metaphor 



1899.] 



Under the Beard of Buchanan. 



271 



did not inspire us with con- 
fidence in the critical value of 
Victorian euphuism. Nor did 
the article in the ' Dictionary 
of National Biography ' carry 
us further than an admiration 
for Mr Colvin's astuteness in 
stimulating a curiosity in the 
Great Work that is to come. 
Meanwhile Mrs Black and 
Miss Simpson have been busy. 
"For once," wrote Mr Frederic 
Harrison in the wisest and most 
stimulating utterance produced 
by the " Choice of Books " in- 
quiry "for once that we take 
down our Milton, and read a 
book of that * voice,' as Words- 
worth says, 'whose sound is 
like the sea,' we take up fifty 
times a magazine with some- 
thing about Milton, or about 
Milton's grandmother, or a book 
stuffed with curious facts about 
the houses in which he lived, 
and the juvenile ailments of 
his first wife." And thus it is 
we now know positively that 
at the age of four Stevenson 
was gorgeously arrayed "in a 
blue merino pelisse trimmed 
with grey astrachan," and that 
the excellent Gummy was dis- 
satisfied therewith, justly "in- 
dignant that such a bairn 
should be dressed in a rem- 
nant, however excellent the 
stuff." Says Miss Simpson, 
" How interesting it would have 
been to have had a photograph 
of these two mothers (Mrs 
Barrie and Mrs Stevenson) dis- 
cussing their sons, their books, 
or their infantine ailments." 
We confess that we enter- 
tain no curiosity whatever on 
the subject ; but should Miss 
Simpson see fit to give us a series 
of imaginary maternal conver- 
sations, we shall be glad to 



hear something of what passed 
between Mrs Jonson and Mrs 
Shakespeare regarding the ju- 
venile delinquencies of their dis- 
tinguished sons. All this seems 
to us the reductio ad absurdum 
of biography; and it would be 
unworthy of the advertisement 
of reprobation, were it not that 
it represents an all too common 
tendency in present-day jour- 
nalism a tendency begotten of 
vulgar and irrelevant curiosity. 
Justice compels us to admit, 
however, that these efforts at 
biography have not been written 
in vain. They tell little, it is true, 
of their hero that is of any liter- 
ary value, though they ascribe 
to him a measure of affectation 
which we hope is as exaggerated 
as is their praise ; but their real 
achievement lies in the fact 
that, hopelessly dull themselves, 
they have driven Mr Sidney 
Colvin into a position of delight- 
fully humorous absurdity. No 
sooner had Mrs Black's humble 
volume appeared than Mr Colvin 
thundered "Hands off! let no 
one touch Stevenson while the 
chosen biographer perpends." 
There is much that attracts us 
in this new Literary Game Law, 
with its close seasons and its 
ominous warnings to such as 
trespass. But it was surely un- 
gallant of Mr Colvin to bully 
two very harmless ladies, who 
have done their work so poorly 
that we are prepared to be all 
the more lenient to his long- 
announced and much -vaunted 
masterpiece when it does come. 
Let it be accounted for right- 
eousness to Mrs Black and Miss 
Simpson that they have main- 
tained the " open door " against 
Mr Colvin's preposterous theory 
of protection. 



272 Romance of the Mines : [Feb. 

ROMANCE OF THE MINES I 
CALIFOBNIAN GOLD DISCOVERIES. 

NORTHERN AMERICA was ised in the distant future, 
founded on furs and built up Clarke and Lewis made their 
with gold and silver. The fur wonderful expedition in 1804, 
companies and the reckless starting from St Louis, which 
trappers in their pay had was then the outlying trading- 
scattered trading - posts over post on the Missouri. It was 
the Canadas, and roughly ex- undertaken chiefly from polit- 
plored the inhospitable regions ical curiosity, and in the in- 
lying between the Missouri and terests of geographical science, 
the Pacific. Yet, to all ap- After eighteen months of in- 
pearance, the population and credible endurance, the ex- 
civilisation of the western plorers reached the shores of 
territories appertaining to the the Pacific. It was nearly 
Union might have been indefin- forty years before that expe- 
itely deferred. The agricul- dition was followed up, and 
tural pioneers had been slowly the second and more import- 
pushing westward across the ant exploration originated in 
prairies ; but it was a perilous haphazard and a love romance, 
venture, and by no means By something like a providence, 
remunerative. The fertility of Fremont was predestined to 
the deep black loam had been prepare a way for the im- 
recognised; but the rude cul- pending rush of gold -seekers, 
tivation was carried on under The man who won, and well 
difficulties, and there were no deserved, the sobriquet of the 
local markets. The costs of Great Pathfinder was a young 
transport knocked off the officer of Engineers when he 
profits. The Santa Fe trade engaged himself to the pretty 
received a considerable impulse daughter of Benton, the sen- 
on the annexation of New ator from Missouri. The 
Mexico ; but it was never likely lieutenant was poor, and had 
to attain very lucrative pro- no prospects, so the stern 
portions, so long as it lay parent would not hear of the 
across an unpeopled wilderness, match. He used his influence 
raided by the Indians whom at Washington to send the 
the caravans attracted. The youth on the perilous adventure 
States had been annexing to of examining the Des Moines 
the south and on the western river. It was a new version 
seaboard; but they could not of the old story of labours 
digest the territories they had imposed on lovers, when the 
swallowed, and the western gods or fairies come to their 
movement was virtually at a help. To the senator's surprise 
deadlock. Yet their statesmen and disgust, the successful 
cherished vague dreams of surveyor was back within the 
expansion, possibly to be real- year. As his bride was still 



1899.] 



Californian Gold Discoveries. 



273 



withheld, he married her sec- 
retly, and, by way of mak- 
ing provision for the future, 
planned a geographical survey 
of the western territory of the 
States. His record was good, 
and the Government gave him 
employment. He was charged 
to investigate the Rockies, with 
special regard to discovering 
a pass which should give toler- 
ably easy communication with 
the Pacific. He struck out 
the South Pass, and it re- 
mained the chief route of 
travel until the treasure-seekers 
found capital to lay down the 
railways. On a subsequent 
expedition in 1843, and in the 
beginning of a severe winter, 
he was lost among the tribu- 
taries of the Columbia, in the 
chaos of barren mountains. 
Famine was staring the party 
in the face : suggestions of 
cannibalism had been freely 
broached, when Kit Carson, 
the redoubtable scout and 
guide, stepped forward to ac- 
cept the responsibility of ex- 
tricating it from what seemed 
a hopeless cul de sac. And, 
sure enough, Kit's instincts 
guided them to Sutter's Fort 
on the Sacramento, where the 
ragged company of skeletons 
received a warm welcome. 

Sutter, whose name will al- 
ways be associated with that 
of Fremont, had an even more 
romantic career, and its end is 
infinitely touching. It points a 
moral on the vicissitudes of life 
and the vanity of human as- 
pirations. Born in Baden, he 
had served with some distinc- 
tion in Switzerland. In 1834 
he emigrated to America, and 
embarked in the Santa Fe 
trade. He made money, ex- 



plored Alaska, was wrecked on 
the return voyage in the Bay 
of San Francisco, and as he 
liked the look of the country 
on which he had been cast, 
there he resolved to settle 
down. Getting a grant of 
land from the Mexican Gov- 
ernment, he established his set- 
tlement of New Helvetia on the 
site of Sacramento. The Mexi- 
cans appreciated him so highly 
that they made him Governor 
of Northern California, and 
when that country was ceded 
by treaty to America, he was 
confirmed in the post under 
a different title. Everything 
prospered under his hand. He 
initiated enterprise after enter- 
prise, and was a generous em- 
ployer of labour. His munifi- 
cence was proverbial : for hospi- 
tality he was famed far and 
wide : he seemed to be reaping 
the rich reward of his good 
works. He took to spinning 
woollens and distilling spirits ; 
he was enlarging the sawmills, 
which were doing a smart stroke 
of business in the lumber trade ; 
and these were but a few of his 
thriving industrial undertak- 
ings. Beneath the foundations 
of his buildings were buried 
treasures of which neither he 
nor any one else had a suspicion. 
The year 1848 was fateful for 
Sutter, as for kings and poten- 
tates in Continental Europe. 
In an evil hour he signed a 
contract to run up a new mill. 
Digging for the mill - race, 
strange sparkles were seen in 
the sands. On close examina- 
tion they proved to be gold-dust. 
The discovery was an incentive 
to further researches. The 
trail of the dust was traced 
up to pockets, and then to 



274 



Romance of the Mines : 



[Feb. 



nuggets : the Sacramento and 
an indefinite surrounding area 
were demonstrated to be richly 
auriferous. And when the 
news came to the ears of the 
scientific geologists, it seemed 
clear that the scattered gold 
was but the debris of the over- 
hanging Sierras. In the rush 
that followed the first an- 
nouncement poor Sutter was 
swept off his legs. In the first 
place, all his workpeople deserted 
him : his cattle strayed un- 
herded ; he could not afford to 
tempt his hands with fancy 
wages ; and in the paralysis of in- 
dustry he failed to meet his obli- 
gations. The loose mining laws 
of the Union came into play, 
and claims were pre-empted 
and pegged out on the lands 
that passed from him. He had 
lavished his economies on benef- 
icence and hospitality. Now 
the wealthy settler was beg- 
gared, and he became a man 
with a grievance. After strug- 
gling on, in 1873 he emigrated 
eastwards to press his claims 
on Congress. Penniless and 
friendless, the old man had 
almost broken his heart, when 
he received the pitiful compen- 
sation of a trifling pension, and 
he only survived for a year to 
draw it. 

The Sutter Discoveries, as 
they were called, precipitated 
the evolution of America. They 
unlocked treasure-stores which 
for a long time were to give it 
an unparalleled financial posi- 
tion. The Government had 
actually to devise extravagant 
ways and means to relieve the 
Treasury of the glut of hoarded 
metal. Meantime, the immed- 
iate consequence was a general 
exodus to the West. The trap- 



pers, who had passed their lives 
in trackless plains and among 
rugged mountains, were men 
inured to hardship of every 
kind, and indifferent to peril. 
The new-comers were men of 
all sorts the majority of them, 
perhaps, absurdly unfitted for 
the adventures which they 
rashly undertook. They were 
drawn by the gold, as by an 
irresistible magnet. Visions of 
wealth to be easily won over- 
came constitutional timidity, 
animated exhausted or despair- 
ing energy, and gave new life 
and strength to frames debili- 
tated by dissipation. Mingled 
with these weaklings were 
sturdy miners, and desperate 
ruffians who scrupled at noth- 
ing. The mixed multitude 
swarmed in on California from 
all directions and by every 
means of conveyance. They 
chartered schooners from Aus- 
tralia and the Pacific Isles ; 
they faced the winter terrors 
of the Horn in unseaworthy 
ships, indifferently found and 
dangerously overloaded. Some 
few, who had the means of pro- 
viding a costly outfit, resigned 
themselves to the sluggish ox- 
teams ; but the most of the 
gold -seekers who came from 
the Eastern States, when they 
passed the Missouri, tramped 
it on foot. They crossed sterile 
deserts of salt and alkali ; they 
ferried themselves somehow 
across flooded rivers; they 
struggled through quicksands 
which sometimes engulfed them; 
they threaded their way among 
icy crags and dizzy precipices, 
and stumbled along through 
the boulders and debris in the 
depths of gloomy chasms, soon 
to be spanned by girdered via- 



1899.] 



Californian Gold Discoveries. 



275 



ducts and suspension - bridges. 
The mortality was frightful, 
and not a few of the more 
hardy survivors only reached 
the Californian El Dorado to 
dcken and to die. The sea- 
e traffic speedily fell off. 
a few months the high 

issage- rates had paid well; 
after a time no cautious 
shipowner would charter for 
California. Even the whalers 
dared not touch at San Fran- 
cisco or Monterey. The crews 
deserted bodily, and not unfre- 
quently the skipper followed 
their lead, leaving his vessel at 
its moorings to take care of 
itself. 

When Sutter settled upon the 
coast, he got from the Spaniards 
a grant of sixty miles in length 
by twelve in breadth. His en- 
ergy did something to waken up 
a lethargic society, living in 
luxurious indolence on the 
flocks and fruits, and scratching 
patches of the rich soil here 
and there with their primitive 
ploughs. Sutter, besides start- 
ing the industrial enterprises 
we have mentioned, set an 
example of intelligent farming, 
and cultivated 1500 acres. Much 
of his property, as of that of 
the Spanish mission - stations 
and landowners, consisted of 
great herds of cattle and troops 
of wild horses. And yet the 
wealth running on four legs 
could seldom be realised, for 
except when ships put in for 
supplies, there was as little of a 
sale for beef as for horseflesh. 
When the Treaty of Guadalupe 
Hidalgo handed California over 
to the Union, San Francisco 
was but a rudely fortified mis- 
sion-house, surrounded by adobe 
hovels for the peons. There 



was nothing to tempt the cu- 
pidity of pirate or privateer, 
and the Golden Gates were only 
guarded by some rickety forti- 
fications, a survival of the more 
palmy days of Old Spain. The 
Americans found themselves in 
possession of a strip of terri- 
tory three times the area of 
England, with 1000 miles of 
seaboard. As for commerce, 
there was next to none, so that 
Eastern statesmen had realised 
nothing of the magnificent cap- 
abilities of San Francisco Bay. 
But the American, like the 
Scotsman, will penetrate every- 
where where he sees a way to 
doubling a dollar. The soil was 
deep, the climate genial, and in 
a few months after the annex- 
ation San Francisco was a 
rising township of wooden struc- 
tures, with no fewer than three 
" hotels " ! But nothing por- 
tended a boom, and it seemed 
likely enough to stagnate, for 
the headquarters of the new 
regime had been established at 
Monterey. 

Then there came that memor- 
able afternoon when Marshall, 
who had been digging the mill- 
lead on the Sacramento, burst 
in upon Sutter at the fort. He 
could scarcely stammer out an 
explanation of his excitement, 
and Sutter thought his friend 
the contractor had gone mad. 
He was assured of it when 
Marshall produced his pocket 
fuls of yellow siftings, and pro- 
nounced them gold-dust. Mica, 
of course ! declared the old 
settler; he had seen that 
glitter often before, and knew 
the fallacious lustre. But 
what with the weight and 
the rude assays, it took no 
long time to convince his 



276 



Romance of the Mines : 



[Feb. 



incredulity. The discovery 
proved ruinous to Sutter, but 
he dreamed of enriching him- 
self beyond the dreams of 
avarice. The idea of the part- 
ners was to keep the thing dark 
an absurdity on the face of 
it, in that lawless territory, 
held on questionable titles, 
where might was right and 
monopolies were an impossi- 
bility. Sutter and Marshall 
went searching and washing. 
All they found tended to con- 
firm their hopes : they passed 
on from sifting out gold-dust 
to picking up tiny nuggets. 
But they had been watched 
and tracked by a shrewd work- 
man from Kentucky, and im- 
mediately the great news got 
wind. The hands at the saw- 
mills and distilleries knocked off 
work and went about prospect- 
ing on their own account. A 
few days afterwards there was 
sensation in sleepy San Fran- 
cisco when a man rode in from 
the Sacramento with sand to 
be assayed. At first nobody 
believed : probably the assayers 
were not over -expert, and all 
declared, like Sutter, that he 
had been befooled by mica. 
But party after party came 
in upon his heels, some of them 
bringing nuggets there was no 
mistaking. Nothing but the 
doubts and fears which must 
be speedily allayed could have 
torn them, away from the 
diggings. The doubts being 
satisfied, they were in a fever 
to get back. Their excitement 
and example were contagious: 
the epidemic spread in the set- 
tlement, and it is astounding, 
and yet perhaps not astound- 
ing, how suddenly it caught 
on. The impecunious loafers, 



who were casting about for a liv- 
ing, fancied they had stumbled 
on to the borderland of the fabled 
El Dorado. Yet their fondest 
fancies fell far short of the 
truth; for their notion was 
that the wealth was localised 
on the Sacramento, and the 
Sacramento had only brought 
down the loose drift of inestim- 
able treasures-stores in the Sierra 
Nevada. On the other hand, in 
their sanguine excitement they 
ignored the fact that gold 
gambling is a lottery, with in- 
numerable blanks to each solid 
prize, and where, at best, the 
expenses may swallow the 
profits. The signs of the 
times multiplied quickly. The 
solitary negro waiter at the 
principal tavern raised his de- 
mand for wages to ten dollars 
a-day, and the claim was re- 
luctantly conceded. The saddler 
was the most important local 
tradesman in a country where 
everybody rides. There was an 
immediate rush for saddle re- 
pairs, holsters, and saddle- 
bags ; but his workpeople, 
helping themselves to his 
stock, had taken French leave 
and gone : so in a day or 
two the master put up his 
shutters, with the inscription, 
"Gone to the diggings." Al- 
ready the reaction of the social 
shock was felt at Sutter's Fort. 
Sutter was looking on help- 
lessly, while his land was being 
pegged out and squabbled over 
by strangers. He could get no 
help from the States' garrison, 
for their Indian recruits had 
deserted to a man. His bliss- 
ful dreams of a gold monopoly 
were dissipated, for every lab- 
ourer was grubbing for himself. 
He tried in vain to tempt his 



1899.] 



Califomian Gold Discoveries. 



277 



mill-hands with treble wages 
and unlimited allowances of 
whisky. He might have done 
a fair stroke of business in the 
meantime, for his magazines 
were well stocked; but the 
master had other preoccupa- 
tions, and there was difficulty 
in getting anybody to sell. 

Then was seen the curious 
spectacle of fortune - seekers 
toiling among veritable riches 
and living painfully and anxi- 
ously from hand to mouth. 
Provisions were at famine 
prices. Even a novice in an 
average day's work might wash 
out 25 dollars' worth of gold. 
On an income of 1800 a-year, 
one might have saved con- 
iderably in a more settled 
untry. But the bare cost of 
.e coarsest food was porten- 
us. No one could spare time 
bring in for sale the cattle 
t were running masterless 
the mountains, or to 
shoot the elk and deer. Later 
on, a few of the shrewder folk 
began to realise that purveying 
for the necessities and amuse- 
ments of the miners was far 
more profitable than sharing 
their precarious toil. A dram 
Californian brandy sold for 
dollar, and the diggers were 
thirsty generation. But at 
only one or two long- 
ed men kept cool enough 
enrich themselves by supply- 
g the workers. And never 
since has any body of novices 
gone to work with more prim- 
itive or inadequate appliances. 
They shook up the sand in 
pots and pans, and even pots 
and pans were at a premium. 
Good part of the dust ran to 
waste in those rough and un- 
VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 




skilled processes. There was 
not an ounce of quicksilver in 
camp. The simplest form of 
cradle was an infinite saving 
of gold and labour. But few 
of the adventurers had the 
tools, the capacity, or the time 
to knock the rudest form of 
rocker together, and no one of 
the three carpenters at the 
diggings would work under 40 
dollars a -day. Yet it was 
pennywise to refuse to engage 
them, even at those exorbitant 
wages. The cradles not only 
lightened labour but largely in- 
creased the percentage of gold. 
And when one party "con- 
cluded to quit " from the Sacra- 
mento, two cradles were put up 
to auction. The bidding was 
brisk, and they fetched the 
almost incredible sum of 400 
dollars, although the value of 
the material was nil, and the 
workmanship of the roughest. 
In fact, many of the diggers 
soon began to move on. Some 
were disappointed, all were rest- 
less ; the claims on the lower 
Sacramento were overcrowded, 
and reports, exaggerated by 
rumour, came in of rich dis- 
coveries nearer to the Nevada 
Range. Yet those reports were 
true in the main, for the farther 
streams were traced towards the 
mountains, the thicker became 
the sign on the golden trails 
which led to rock repositories, 
as yet unsuspected. There were 
concentrated deposits in depres- 
sions of the torrent beds, and 
nuggets of considerable size be- 
came more frequent. Yet the 
biggest was not so very big, nor 
was there anything to compare 
with the prizes of Australia. 
The best authenticated value 



278 



Romance of the Mines : 



[Feb. 



was 4000 dollars, for such 
"finds" as that attributed to 
the unlucky discoverer of the 
great Comstock silver-lode seem 
to be more or less mythical. 
Industrious washers often made 
their 40 dollars a -day, but 
the dangers to life and property 
increased in arithmetical pro- 
portion with each league they 
laid between themselves and the 
Sacramento headquarters. At 
first the unsophisticated Indians 
had been willing to do a modi- 
cum of work with pick and 
shovel for their food and a free 
allowance of whisky. Sutter 
had enlisted several gangs, from 
tribes with whom he had friend- 
ly relations, when his white 
workpeople went washing on 
his land on their own account. 
His Indians struck for wages, 
and then began raising their 
terms, when they realised that 
the yellow stuff could be bar- 
tered for blankets, guns, and 
powder. The news spread to 
their kinsfolk in the interior, 
who began to swarm down 
towards the mines like wasps 
gathering round honey - pots. 
They had no wish to work, but 
they were ready to rob and mur- 
der ; and in any case the horses 
picketed outside an encamp- 
ment were an irresistible bait. 
Men worn with the day of toil 
had to set watches through 
the night. Nor when they had 
accumulated some considerable 
store of gold was it an easy 
matter to place it in safety. 
There were white as well as 
red robbers. Brigandage is a 
recognised Spanish industry ; 
and even when California was 
under Mexican rule there were 
bands infesting the mountains. 
In those days the business must 



have been a poor one, but now 
it received a sudden impulse. 
One or two noted chiefs came 
down with recruited forces to 
beset the trails along the Sacra- 
mento and the Americans' river. 
Dr Brooks, who was one of the 
first Englishmen to make his 
way to the mines, has left an 
interesting account of his ex- 
periences both with the white 
brigands and the Indians. They 
were exciting, and compressed 
into a very brief space of time. 
With several companions he had 
pushed on to Weber's Creek, and 
thence to Bear River, a branch 
of the Americans'. They had 
done very well had realised 
about 5000 dollars' worth of 
gold. Then the Indians beset 
the camp, stole the horses, killed 
one or two of the party, and 
wounded others, after sundry 
sharp skirmishes. The diggers 
took alarm for their gold, and 
sent it off to Sutter's Fort, under 
what they deemed sufficient 
escort. But the brigands were 
looking out, and the treasure 
was looted. The miners, hasten- 
ing back to the Sacramento, 
ran the trail of the robbers till 
they lost it in the Pueblos and 
Sierras of New Mexico, and 
they never had another glimpse 
of the metal which had cost 
them months of arduous labour. 
Nor was that at all an excep- 
tional experience. 

At first it was all placer- 
mining. Placer - mining is 
superficial. It meant washing 
the stream -beds, scraping the 
gravelly surface, and removing 
shallow coverings of barren 
rock. The essential point in 
that, as in quartz-mining, is a 
sufficiency of water. In many 
cases the miners were con- 



1899.] 



Californian Gold Discoveries. 



279 



demned to a novel variation 
on the torments of Tantalus. 
Following up the Sacramento 
and the Americans', and trac- 
ing the arroyos or tributary 
creeks to their sources, they 
found the richest deposits in 
old gravel-beds. But the tor- 
rents which had scooped the 
chasms had long run dry or 
changed their courses. So the 
sand had to be carried to the 
water, which might be many 
'les away, or else the water 
mst be brought to the sand, 
le intensity of the labour 
lay be conceived, in trackless 
leys, between glowing rocks, 
in the blaze of a Cali- 
summer. In 1854 the 
lacer- mines had been nearly 
Corked out, but then came the 
>very of the metalliferous 
luartz in the Sierras. For the 
lost part these quartz lodes 
in sterile and waterless 
ions, yet water, and water 
profusion, was more indis- 
ible than ever. Com- 
inies with enormous capital 
fere formed to work the new 
les, and by far their greatest 
tpenditure was on the item of 
the water-supply. Generally 
it had to be brought from 
great distances, sometimes for 
a distance of twenty or thirty 
miles. It may give some idea 
of the rapid progress of Cali- 
fornian mining to mention, that 
in fifteen years the mining 
ditches, as they were called, 
aggregated a length of nearly 
5000 miles. Hewn out of the 
hard rock, or carried in wooden 
flumes, through beds of shingle 
and gravel, in cost they far 
surpassed the superb aqueducts 
of the Roman Campagna, for 
the Romans paid little for la- 



bour. "We may roughly guess 
the quantity of water laid on 
from the fact that sixty mil- 
lions of gallons may be ex- 
pended on a single hydraulic 
claim in a single day. In 
twenty-five years, according to 
the estimates of a Treasury 
official, gold to the value of 
a thousand millions of dollars 
had been extracted from Cali- 
fornia. Nor was it California 
alone that was contributing to 
the grand total Excitement 
blazed up at intervals on stages 
leading toward the East. The 
rushes to Washoe in Western 
Utah and Pike's Peak in Col- 
orado came in 1858, almost 
simultaneously with the rev- 
elation of the riches of Mon- 
tana. 

We know that with indulg- 
ence in big figures we take a 
long step towards illusive con- 
ceptions of infinity and eternity. 
They may be the pride and 
pleasure of severe statisticians, 
but the average intelligence is 
as hopelessly lost in them as the 
tenderfoot on the boundless 
prairies. It is easier to estimate 
tangible results. Had there 
been no discoveries of the pre- 
cious metals, the Californian 
seaboard might have been in- 
definitely isolated from the rich 
and thickly populated Eastern 
States. Settlers could only 
have come by sea to that elon- 
gated strip of favoured territory. 
Farmers and graziers would 
have still pushed beyond the 
Missouri, but they would have 
come to a temporary check when 
they travelled beyond the range 
of markets. The cattle of Texas 
would never have fed in the 
pastures of Montana or filled 
the slaughter-yards of Chicago. 



280 



Romance of the Mines : 



[Feb. 



The mustangs of Mexico and 
California could never have been 
sold to the Mississippi dealers 
or mounted the cavalry of the 
Union. But the gathering of 
the golden harvest involved and 
compelled incessant and increas- 
ing expenditure of capital and 
enterprise. In many cases specu- 
lations were tolerably secure; 
in most there was the possibility 
of enormous returns. The urgent 
necessity was ever the develop- 
ment of communications. The 
vast population which was flock- 
ing to the least accessible localities 
in the sterile wilderness must 
be clothed, fed, and entertained. 
The mushroom towns which 
were shooting up everywhere 
increased by leaps and bounds 
in a single season. Forests were 
felled, rivers were bridged, foot- 
trails were made practicable for 
vehicles ; a tolerably regular 
post was established, to be sup- 
plemented by the telegraph- 
wire, and the telegraph in due 
course was succeeded by the 
rival lines of inter-oceanic rail- 
ways. Many a thriving town- 
ship at some temporary terminus 
sprung up like the prophet's 
gourd, only to die down or 
move on. But at the mining 
centres they grew rapidly into 
cities in face of unexampled 
obstacles. And then enterprise 
and energy radiated from these 
focuses to meet the converging 
advances from all sides, until the 
whole Western Continent had 
quickened into spasmodic but 
feverish life. A typical example 
though in adverting to it we 
are rather anticipating was 
that of Virginia City, the capi- 
tal of the famous Washoe dis- 
trict, with its fabulous wealth. 
Ross-Browne, one of the original 



" citizens," has written the pic- 
turesque story of its early 
struggles. There was no better 
timber to be found on the barren 
hillsides than the brittle sage 
brush ; and the sage scrub de- 
notes a scarcity of water. Worse 
off than the Israelites, who had 
only to make bricks without 
straw, the first squatters could 
not find soil enough for the 
adobe building of the Mexicans. 
Yet the thousands who were 
swelling their numbers day by 
day were to be somehow shel- 
tered. The more luxurious 
aristocrats ran up booths of 
canvas or blanket, or housed 
themselves in hovels of mud 
and sage branches. The boards 
from boxes or packing-cases were 
at a premium. The more hardy 
were satisfied to roof themselves 
in with a blanket. Gradually, 
as civilisation progressed, they 
bored tunnels and dug out 
chambers in holes scooped by 
the coyotes or jack-rabbits. The 
first of the speculators built 
what they were pleased to call 
sleeping -houses, where two or 
three hundred lodgers were 
half -suffocated at a charge of 
a dollar a -head. The London 
twopenny rope was sensuous in- 
dulgence by comparison. Al- 
most simultaneously came the 
gambling-saloons and the drink- 
ing-bars by the dozen ; the tra- 
velling theatre or circus, and the 
competing newspaper offices. 

Things were unpleasant 
enough in the summer, though 
if the heat were stifling slight 
shelter sufficed, and if living 
was dear there could be no 
starvation. To do the rough 
miner bare justice, when in luck 
he was always willing to share 
with a neighbour. The man 



1899.] 



Califomian Gold Discoveries. 



281 



who was ready to shoot at sight 
had a heart open to melting 
charity. But the sufferings in 
the intense severity of the first 
winter were worse than any re- 
corded in the colder latitude of 
Klondyke. The miners had 
taken the precaution of collect- 
ing cattle, but had forgotten to 
consider how the cattle were to 
be fed. What little coarse hay 
there was came to sell at 300 
dollars the ton. The carcasses 
of dead animals covered the 
ground : the seething mass of 
corruption attracted the vul- 
tures and the wolves ; but those 
scavengers were too few for the 
work, and the effluvia bred epi- 
demics. The transport horses 
were wasted to skeletons, and 
the trains bringing in supplies 
were held up in the snow-drifts. 
Yet, all the time, pickaxe and 
shovel were busy in the frozen 
ground, and the fever of specula- 
tion raged unabated, though 
none of the rich bonanzas had 
as yet been discovered. 

Meantime the Spanish hamlet 
of San Francisco had been grow- 
ing into a place of importance. 
It was the capital of the mining 
territories, the centre of pro- 
motion and speculation, and the 
shipping port of the gold. 
Round San Francisco there was 
no lack of timber, and the first 
imposing structures, though in 
many storeys, were all of wood. 
Even when Froude visited it in 
1885, when gathering materials 
for his 'Oceana,' most of the 
pavements were still of plank, 
although the great Palace Hotel 
was become the biggest caravan- 
serai in the world. Of course 
the woodwork in a Californian 
summer was combustible as 
tinder, and consequently fires 



were frequent. After each con- 
flagration the streets rose from 
their ashes with improvements : 
as matter of economy stone 
came to replace wood, and if 
the buildings were often in 
infamous taste, at least they 
were solid. San Francisco 
sprang up and extended itself 
with the influx of prosperity 
and in the fluctuating rushes 
of speculation. Every man of 
grit was ready for a gamble, 
and each citizen of prominence, 
whatever his occupation, was a 
dealer in stocks and shares. 
But it is a remarkable fact 
that, till after the discoveries 
of silver in 1858, there was no 
regular stock exchange any- 
where on the Pacific coast, 
though the Californian capital 
was soon to boast three rival 
institutions, and even the cities 
on the Comstock were provided 
with municipal facilities for 
going "wild -cat" mad. Then 
there were no joint-stock com- 
panies (limited), with shares 
officially quoted : all the quartz- 
mining was carried on by a few 
confederates in partnership, and 
on a system of the strictest 
secrecy. The buying, the sell- 
ing, and the gambling went 
forward none the less briskly 
that the speculators were gen- 
erally in the dark and far from 
the seats of operations. Touts 
were employed, as on the Eng- 
lish turf, to spy on prospectors 
and owners ; detectives were 
engaged to do duty disguised 
as workmen; bribery and cor- 
ruption were everywhere rife, 
and large sums were paid for 
reliable tips. It was as yet the 
day of small things in San 
Francisco, but already com- 
petencies or moderate fortunes 



282 



Romance of the Mines. 



[Feb. 



were being rapidly made and as 
easily lost. It was an easy- 
going society, and not very 
lawless. Even in Nevada camps 
many of the miners went un- 
armed, and murders were in- 
frequent. It was a charitable 
world in every sense, and toler- 
ant in its morality. Shrewd- 
ness and a moderate amount 
of squareness were the redeem- 
ing virtues. If a man acted on 
the straight with his pals and 
kept the secrets of their common 
business or rascality, he seldom 
wanted friends to give him a 
helping hand when he came to 
temporary grief. The easy ac- 
quisition of precarious affluence 
gave an extraordinary impulse to 
reckless habits. Successful men 
revelled in vulgar vice, and in 
that drouthy climate, with the 
gold-fever flowing in the veins, 
almost everybody opened an 
unlimited credit with the thirst 
which would never be sated. 
What with bargaining all day 
and drinking far into the nights, 
a man kept himself up to the 
mark with continual stimulants, 
and the semi-intoxicated exalta- 
tion of the individual reacted on 
the general speculative mania. 
There was no lack of female 
society of a sort ; there were 
gambling - saloons that never 
closed their doors, and stood 
unlimited free drinks to favoured 
patrons. But it was after the 
great silver boom of 1859 that 
San Francisco rose from timber 
shanties and rough stone dwel- 
lings into a city of palaces ; that 
no nouveau riche made anything 
of a name, or could pretend to 
municipal office or social respect, 
unless he were notoriously in 
the habit of gambling for mil- 
lions ; that lucky miners bathed 



metaphorically in champagne, 
though they infinitely preferred 
whisky, and were consoled for 
the discomfort of wearing clean 
linen by the display of shirt- 
fronts blazing with diamonds. 
San Francisco sowed its wild 
oats in a series of orgies of sharp 
dealings and mad dissipation, 
ranging from the coarse excesses 
of common miners suddenly en- 
riched to the luxurious osten- 
tation of ephemeral millionaires 
seeking to outvie each other in 
prodigal extravagances. But 
with the rapid and assured 
influx of wealth came respect- 
ability and the sense of muni- 
cipal responsibility. The Regu- 
lators had prepared the way 
for the Reign of Law. Char- 
acter became a matter of conse- 
quence. The public promenades 
and drives became at least as 
decent as the Bois de Boulogne 
or the Parks of New York. 
Since then a new generation 
has grown up, with all the 
advantages of education and 
foreign travel, for the Californi- 
ans with their golden keys have 
been unlocking doors more or 
less exclusive on the Old Con- 
tinent. In short, the Golden 
City of to-day shows as credi- 
table a record and as clean a 
bill of moral health as New 
York or London, with the fairest 
prospects of indefinite progress, 
for as wealth still flows steadily 
in, so the population multiplies 
and flourishes. And all that 
eventful evolution, with the ex- 
pansion of the Union of which 
it is merely a symbol, came of 
the morning's incident on the 
Sacramento, when the man who 
was cutting poor Sutter's mill- 
race chanced to be something 
of a practical mineralogist. 



1899.] 



The Gift of Fulfilment: An Allegory. 



283 



THE GIFT OF FULFILMENT : AN ALLEGORY. 1 
BY BEATRICE HARRADEN. 



IT was the hour of sunset, and 
a wayfarer stood waiting out- 
side the great courtyard of the 
Sovereign's palace. He had 
been lingering there for several 
long hours, and had watched 
many other travellers press 
boldly forward, each of them 
apparently armed with some 
kind of credential, which the 
grave custodian read and re- 
read before signing to the bearer 
to pass through the reluctant 
gates. This wayfarer had no 
such papers, and therefore he 
might well pause before asking 
for admittance into those fair 
realms. But as he glanced to- 
wards the purple glory of the 
setting sun, something of the 
glow and splendour of that 
vision entered into his very soul, 
and thrilled him with a sudden 
hope and rapture. 

"Ah," he said, softly, "it may 
be so it may be that the Sov- 
ereign will deign to listen to 
me!" 

Then he knocked, and the 
gate swung slowly open. 

"And where is your pass- 
" asked the custodian, 
looking kindly at the tired way- 
farer. 

Alas ! I have no passport," 
he said, " but I thought " 

The custodian shook his head. 

" No one may enter here with- 
out one," he said, firmly, and in- 
stinctively he stepped back and 
touched the gate. 

" Stay, I entreat you," said 
the wayfarer with almost pain- 
ful eagerness. And there was 



something in his bearing and 
in the sound of his voice and 
in the expression of his face 
which made the keeper of the 
gate hesitate. 

" My son," he said, gently, 
" tell me thy mind, but be brief, 
for lo ! the sun hath almost set. 
And when the sun hath set, my 
appointed task for the day is 
over, and I may no longer pene- 
trate into the Lord Sovereign's 
audience-hall." 

The stranger meantime had 
hastily inscribed a few words on 
a tablet, and the old grey cus- 
todian raised it to his eyes and 
read, " ' / have waited' " 

"'/ have waited'?" he re- 
peated questioningly, and glanc- 
ing at the stranger. 

" Yes," said the stranger with 
a quiet dignity. " ' / have wait- 
ed.' That is my only credential, 
but the Lord Sovereign will of 
a surety accept it. I entreat of 
thee to present it for me. Close 
thy gate against me, and I will 
linger here until I have thy an- 
swer. And if I may not enter 
after all, thy courtesy and gentle- 
ness have at least been my por- 
tion in spite of evil chance." 

" ' I have waited,' " murmured 
the custodian half to himself. 
" And how may I dare approach 
the Lord Sovereign with such a 
strange message ? Nevertheless 
I will venture, and, meanwhile, 
tarry thou here." 

The great gate closed noise- 
lessly, and the wayfarer stood 
waiting outside. And the cus- 
todian passed into the inner 



1 Copyright in the United States of America. 



284 



The Gift of Fulfilment : An Allegory. 



[Feb. 



court, and thence into the pres- 
ence-chamber of the Ruler of 
the realm. 

" My Lord Sovereign," he 
said in anxious tones, as he 
made obeisance, "there is a 
wayfarer who pleads for admis- 
sion here, but he hath no pass- 
port such as I can know and 
recognise." 

"Then there can be no en- 
trance," was the stern answer. 
" Surely thou know'st that, after 
thy many years of faithful ser- 
vice." 

" Nay, but my Lord," pleaded 
the old man, " the wayf arer hath 
presented me with this writing, 
and such was the fervour of his 
manner and the expression on 
his noble countenance, that I 
knew not how to refuse to kneel 
before thee on his behalf." 

Then the great Ruler read the 
writing on the tablet. 

" ' / have waited? " he said 
aloud. " What can that mean ? " 

" ' / have waited? " repeated 
wonderingly those assembled 
around him. 

A great silence fell on all that 
gracious company. One might 
have heard the soft sighing of 
the tiniest flower. And mean- 
while the wayfarer tarried out- 
side, lost in anxious meditation. 

"Can it be," thought he, 
" that my pent-up sadness may 
find expression at last, and my 
mind ease itself of all its griev- 
ous unf ulfilment s ? " And whilst 
thus wrapt up, the old custodian 
touched him on the arm. 

"Come, my son," he said, 
kindly. "The Sovereign sum- 
mons thee to learn what thy 
words may well imply." 

The wayfarer followed his 
guide through the inner court, 
and through the great golden 



barriers, and lo ! he stood be- 
fore the dread Ruler in the 
throned presence-chamber. It 
may be that his steps faltered 
somewhat, as we all must needs 
falter before the Unknown. But 
his heart never wavered, and 
his courage never failed, for he 
knew that his cause was just, 
or at least he believed it was 
such and where shall we find 
that faint line of demarcation 
'twixt what is true for us and 
what is reality in itself ? So 
he faced the Sovereign unflinch- 
ingly, and glanced with quiet 
confidence at the blessed follow- 
ers whose credentials had been of 
safer and surer worth than his. 

"Speak," said the Ruler, 
" and unravel the mystery of 
thy strange message. And 
when we have heard, we will 
give our answer." 

Then the wayfarer spoke. 

" My Lord," he said, " I thank 
thee for this gracious favour. 
My story is a brief one, and 
though it may seem an unusual 
one, I do not claim that it is 
"my story only. It belongs to 
countless others, but chance has 
so willed it that I should be the 
one to tell the legend for all 
those who are in this, my woe- 
ful plight." 

" Then thou hast come as an 
ambassador ? " asked the Ruler. 

"Nay," he answered. "I 
cannot aspire to be so im- 
personal. My own great neces- 
sity has urged me hither. But 
as time sped on its way, I have 
learned what to me was a start- 
ling revelation that mine was 
not the only necessity of the 
self -same kind." 

He paused, and the Ruler 
signed to him to proceed further, 
and there seemed a suppressed 



1899. 



The Grift of Fulfilment : An Allegory. 



285 



excitement among the countless 
followers, as though something 
unwonted were being enacted 
some strange departure from the 
customs of the realm. 

"This is my story," said the 
wayfarer. "To have known 
myself gifted above the ordin- 
ary in every incarnation through 
which, by the fixed laws of de- 
velopment, I have passed as a 
matter of course. To have 
known and humbly recognised 
those gifts, striven for them, 
fostered them, protected them 
as far as I could from adverse 
influences, and from my own 
lower self, that worst of evil in- 
fluences; and when they were 
damaged almost beyond recog- 
nition, by wanton sin and by 
unconscious errors of judgment, 
then to have grasped them once 
more, and by tender and penitent 
nursing to have brought them 
back to the beauty which was 
all their own. And yet through 
the long long years to have had 
no fulfilment I speak not of 
failure, my Lord. To fail at 
least means that one has been 
into the battle and lost. But 
it has ever been my cruel fate to 
be forced away from the field, 
and to watch hungrily the 
favoured ones of Circumstance 
and Chance rush eagerly to- 
wards victory or defeat. So 
my life has been one weary long 
waiting for the gracious oppor- 
tunity which has never been 
vouchsafed me. And I have 
come hither to raise my voice 
in protest to ask why these 
things should be why we 
should be given beautiful powers 
and forbidden to use them 
where the sense of it can be, 
and where the justice ? And if 
there be hidden sense in the 



ordination and hidden justice, 
then at least I claim that those 
few words inscribed on the tab- 
let should be as potent a pass- 
port as a long record of deeds 
attempted and accomplished, 
and of deeds attempted and 
failed in. Failure, I know, hath 
entered these fair realms and 
been comforted, and yet, my 
Lord, thou canst surely realise 
that her burden is but a light 
one compared with mine. Nay, 
it is not that I would have 
grudged her any solace beauti- 
ful sad-eyed Failure but to me 
her lot seems enviable indeed." 

Now it so happened that, 
though the wayfarer knew it 
not, Failure was resting there 
and recovering strength for her 
many struggles in the great 
world beyond. She came from 
time to time and learnt the real 
meaning of her name, and then 
passed out joyous and vigorous 
again. She now arose and knelt 
before the Lord Sovereign. 

"My Lord," she said in her 
deep-toned voice, "I know this 
stranger well, and he hath told 
but a part of his sad record, 
every word of which is only too 
true. I knew him first as a 
Poet, with the world's sufferings 
ringing in his ears, with the 
world's joys carolling in his 
heart. Great thoughts pos- 
sessed him, great abilities to 
give them expression. But he 
died his tale untold, his mes- 
sage undelivered ; he had only 
just begun to shape the message 
when his call came. Then I 
knew him in another incarna- 
tion, with the Painter's beauti- 
ful Fancy added to the Poet's 
Spirit. Pictures he planned and 
scenes of high ideality. He had 
worked, lived, striven, and al- 



286 



The Gift of Fulfilment : An Allegory. 



[Feb. 



most attained then suddenly 
the light faded from his eyes, 
and his deft hand hung nerve- 
less by his side. And never 
again came back the power to 
do and be and create. Nothing 
remained save the knowledge 
that the field of life's activities 
was for others and not for him. 
Then I knew him as a stated- 
man with a passionate sense of 
national honour brave, clear- 
seeing, impersonal. But im- 
peded by conditions and circum- 
stances, hampered by narrow 
means and private obligation, 
he had the bitterness of seeing 
others stroll into the places of 
authority, by means of birth or 
wealth or influence. And not 
theirs the enthusiasm of soul, 
nor theirs the pride of nation, 
nor theirs the inborn under- 
standing. Then a great war 
broke out, and the beloved 
country lost its honour and 
dignity amongst the nations of 
the world. Yet he could have 
saved her. But though he 
worked and "waited and strove, 
and built up his knowledge and 
strength, yet the opportunity, 
longed for and prayed for, was 
never vouchsafed him. Ah, and 
I could add only too easily to 
his sad record of unfulfilments ; 
but surely, my Lord Sovereign, 
these suffice of themselves, and 
thou wilt consider the justice of 
his protest." 

She ceased, and again there 
was a hushed silence in the 
presence-chamber, and all eyes 
were riveted on the wayfarer, 
who stood as one transfixed by 
thought and memory. 

"And what canst thou add 
to our beloved Failure's words?" 
asked the Sovereign with inef- 
fable tenderness and sympathy. 



"Ah, my Lord, what more 
should I say ! " he answered, 
sadly. " Failure hath indeed 
told my life's history, and hear- 
ing it, my heart is too full to 
plead or protest further. Thou 
know'st all." Then the Sov- 
ereign communed with his own 
heart, and as he communed, the 
very air seemed redolent of sweet 
fragrance, fit harbinger of merci- 
ful thoughts and gracious under- 
standing. And then he spoke. 

"My son," he said, "I have 
meditated on thy sad record, 
and this is my decree. Hence- 
forth those words / have waited 
shall be a royal passport into 
these realms. For the patient 
striving, and waiting with no 
chance of fulfilment, is the heav- 
iest trial of all. And thou hast 
indeed earned thy entrance. 
Therefore welcome. . . . But 
stay, though thou art welcome 
here a thousand-fold, a sudden 
thought possesses me. I will 
give thee a still greater boon 
the greatest boon for which thy 
heart could wish the gift of 
fulfilment. Hasten, therefore, 
into the world, and fling thy- 
self into the battle lists. Thou 
shalt experience the glow of ex- 
pression, the rapture of action: 
thou shalt have thy thrill at 
last. And then, when failure 
or success has fallen to thy lot, 
come hither once more and take 
thy rest." 

The wayfarer fell on his knees 
and stretched out his arms in 
gratitude. 

" Oh, my Lord Sovereign," he 
cried, passionately, "how can I 
ever thank thee for giving me 
my very heart's desire?" 

And he rose, buoyant with 
new-born manhood and happi- 
ness, and sped on his way. 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



287 



TANTE LOTJE. 1 



WHEN General van de Burg 
was ordered to return to the 
East, where he had already 
covered himself with glory, 
his chief concern was for the 
daughter whom he must leave 
behind him in Holland. Marie 
van de Burg was now nineteen, 
and in some respects she "was 
older than girls of nineteen 
usually are, inasmuch that for 
two years and more she had 
been her father's companion, 
and the sharer of his triumphs. 
Her mother (whom she could 
not remember) was a van 
Heesteren, which is as much 
as to say that she made a love 
match, for that great House was 
not likely in usual course to 
have allied itself with the ob- 
scure, though quite respectable, 
Zeeland family of van de Burg. 
But the Captain of Artillery 
even so early displayed the 
masterful qualities that were 
to make the name of Michiel 
van de Burg a terror in the 
Indian Ocean, and the little 
lady, who had never walked 
in the streets of The Hague 
or Arnhem unaccompanied by 
governess or companion, was 
swept away from the shelter 
of her family by the lord and 
master of her heart. She fought 
his fortunes at his side in India 
bravely, until a wandering fever 
caught her in her weakness after 
the birth of Marie, and left the 
soldier mourning. 

The General's elder brother, 
Dr Maarten van de Burg, was 



married and settled in a practice 
on the meadowlands to the north 
of Amsterdam, and in the same 
village lived his sister, the de- 
lightful Tante Lotje. When 
Marie was sent home from 
India, her mother's family 
promptly found for her a school 
in the city of Arnhem. 

"A positive "well of accom- 
plishments," the General was in- 
formed. 

"So I should suppose, judg- 
ing from the guilders it swal- 
lows up," he wrote back in his 
brusque way. 

It was, indeed, a school of 
manners, which, as every one 
knows, fetch a high price, and 
"within its walls Marie learned 
the deportment of van Heesteren 
worlds a graceful descent from 
her equipage, an elegant passage 
over the puddles on the " small- 
stones," the varying shades of 
warmth and veneration to be 
discovered in a salute, and the 
like. As the name of her 
brilliant father rose steadily 
like a planet over the Eastern 
horizon, Marie "was given in- 
creasing opportunity of prac- 
tising these arts in the society 
of uncles and aunts on her 
mother's side. She grew rusty 
in them during long holidays 
spent in the houses of Uncle 
Maarten and Tante Lotje, who 
had no social distinction save 
kinship with the illustrious 
General; but there were other 
things picked up there to com- 
pensate for the neglect. In this 



1 Copyright, 1899, by S. S. M'Clure Co., in the United States of America. 



288 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



way Marie grew up with an 
instinct an unenlightened pas- 
sion even for the accomplish- 
ments and duties of the varying 
conditions in which people may 
find themselves in this life. 
When the General returned to 
Europe to well-earned and dis- 
tinguished repose, settling down 
for it with Marie in the famous 
house in the Voorhout, which is 
pointed out as his residence to 
this day, he found her every- 
thing homely, orderly, obedient, 
that her holidays in the village 
had taught her to be, and that 
he, as a van de Burg, had been 
brought up to cherish ; and at 
the same time (and most service- 
ably so for him) skilled in all 
the arts of a world which throws 
itself at the feet of victorious 
generals. There existed thus 
between the two an easy and 
companionable affection which 
made this second parting bitter. 
There was no question of 
taking Marie with him. He 
should not have been going 
East now had there not sprung 
up imperative need for the iron 
hand with which, and with good 
reason, the General was credited. 
It was not an expedition for 
women to join. Equally, there 
was no thought of exiling Marie 
to Uncle Maarten's village ; and 
no invitation had arrived for her 
from the van Heesteren house- 
holds, to which, it may be noted, 
even the General's self -con- 
stituted rights of billeting did 
not extend. Tante Lotje, said 
the General, must come to The 
Hague and play duenna to her 
niece, and accordingly Tante 
Lotje received her marching 
orders, with the precise hour at 
which she was to report herself 



with her baggage, and a roster 
of her duties. Tante Lotje had 
made arrangements much in 
the high-handed manner of the 
General for a certain clucking 
dorking to present her with a 
brood on a date some ten days 
off, and on receiving the 
General's letter she appealed 
to heaven and an extensive 
audience standing round if that 
was an appointment in which 
she could possibly fail. She had 
had her boxes packed, and was 
herself in a flurried condition of 
mind, ready, pending the dork- 
ing's fulfilment of the engage- 
ment, to pay her annual week's 
visit to the family Zwart in 
Nymegen ; and she spent the 
next few days in unpacking, 
demanding the while if she 
knew her own mind so ill that 
she would change the labels on 
her boxes at anybody's dicta- 
tion. "Not one step to The 
Hague should she go. Was it 
likely that she should ? a lady 
of her time of life, forsooth ! 
and to that city of foolishness." 
To make this protestation she 
paid a visit several visits to 
each of her acquaintance in the 
village ; visits, however, which 
closed in protesting farewells. 
For Tante Lotje stood in great 
awe of her brother Michiel, who, 
indeed, had a short way with 
mutineers. She repacked her 
boxes, pasted together the pieces 
into which she had torn the 
roster, confided the expected 
fowls to the care of Dr Maar- 
ten's man, Gerrit, and alighted 
to the minute on the platform 
of The Hague where the General, 
with Marie, his private staff, 
was drawn up to receive her. 
Experience of The Hague had 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



289 



convinced the General that 
Tante Lotje's wing, valiant 
though he knew it to be, was 
not sufficient protection for 
Marie, and accordingly he gave 
her that of a fiances name. 
Had there been any parti at 
home, very eligible, and willing, 
the General with the iron hand 
would have married Marie to 
him straightway. It is certain 
that he would have attempted 
to marry her to any eligible 
stay-at-home, willy-nilly. But 
although there were many 
suitors at home very willing, 
for Marie was handsome enough, 
and a hero's daughter, there 
was none eligible, for the reason 
that the man whom the General 
had selected as a husband for his 
girl was going out on his own 
staff. Had Frans de Bruin been 
a less capable officer, he would 
have made a more desirable son- 
in-law, for then he could have 
been left at home. Here again, 
however, the General (as him- 
self expressed it) sacrificed his 
personal convenience to his 
country's needs. It did not 
occur to him no one who 
knew him had thought that it 
would, for one minute that 
Marie and Frans might have 
wishes in the matter, or that, 
having them, they might ex- 
pect them to be considered. 
And, as a matter of fact, there 
seemed to be on their part an 
absence of wishes, one way or 
another. Had General van de 
Burg refused Captain de Bruin 
as a volunteer for Atjeh, it is 
certain that de Bruin would 
have refused the General as a 
father-in-law. But the Captain 
felt that as he was going on the 
General's staff, marrying the 



General's daughter was a small 
thing, or a small thing com- 
paratively, especially as the 
going-out came first. So too, 
for Marie, who could think of 
nothing save the parting with 
her father, the fact that de 
Bruin was going out veiled the 
irrevocableness of the formal 
betrothal upon which the Gen- 
eral had set his mind. Thus 
both she and Frans acquiesced, 
indifferently, in the step to 
which the General, who was 
a diplomatist as well as a 
soldier when he chose, was skil- 
fully compelling them. When 
they did take it, it was with 
few of the accustomed cere- 
monials. There was no recep- 
tion, no family dinner-party. 
As a matter of fact, the Gen- 
eral and Frans went on board 
at Ymuiden on the day that 
cards were sent out, and Marie 
received alone the congratula- 
tions and the sympathy of their 
acquaintance. Except Uncle 
Maarten and his wife, to whom 
she was to pay a long visit 
soon, the van de Burgs had few- 
relations, or at any rate few 
that counted ; so there were 
only a van Heesteren or two 
and the de Bruin family in its 
main branches to be informally 
visited by the affianced couple, 
and this was done in flying 
afternoon calls. It was on the 
eve of sailing that they ex- 
changed plain bands of gold, 
and they slipped them on each 
other's finger with few pro- 
testations. But first they 
scratched each other's initials 
on the inner sides of the circlets, 
and their laughing awkward- 
ness in this operation blunted 
the cutting edge of the part- 



290 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



ing interview, which had been 
made keen by the consciousness 
of indifference rather than by 
the poignancy of farewell. 

The General's conduct of the 
war in the next two years 
is known to all the world : 
I am the minor historian of 
Tante Lotje's campaign in The 
Hague. Tante Lotje was a 
little body compact of spirited 
virtues ; as the Scots say, " Guid 
gear goes in little bulk." On 
her head was a circlet of grey- 
black curls that shook all day 
long in the breeze of her agita- 
tions ; for Tante Lotje attacked 
the affairs of life, each one, as 
her brother smote the enemy, 
with a sudden and fierce as- 
sault. Her particular mode of 
warfare and here again the 
illustrious Michiel may have 
served as model was a succes- 
sion of skirmishes rounded off 
by a general attack upon the 
harassed and worn-out adver- 
sary. And, like her brother, 
she seldom failed in respect for 
a clever general opposed to her : 
that is why she suffered so few 
defeats. For this intrepid little 
warrior, The Hague was a fine 
field of operations. That light- 
some capital, as everybody 
knows, has a chic of its own. 
The inhabitants polish its life, 
bidding you observe how it 
sparkles in the plain setting of 
the surrounding country. To 
Tante Lotje, of good old Zee- 
land stock, here was a challenge, 
and she accepted it briskly. 

"Tailleur! Poof !" she would 
exclaim, stopping Marie in their 
perambulation of the Spui 
Straat of an afternoon. " Why 
can't the man call himself a 
maker of clothes ! That's 



Dutch. And look here : Confis- 
eur. H6 ! It's only a banket- 
baker, and the little baggage in 
it who serves you in French 
never was nearer Paris than the 
Kurhaus, for certain." 

"But, Tante," Marie would 
answer, coaxing the curls to 
calm themselves and move on, 
"you find tailleurs and confis- 
eurs and modistes all over 
Holland." 

"As if I didn't know. An 
evil sore's not slow to spread." 

At least, Marie claimed 
Marie was now a Hagenaar 
The Hague had taste, and set 
the mode. 

" Mode ! " Tante Lotje would 
cry " Mode ! Certes, that 
mode ! " and she stopped to in- 
dicate a gown of Parisian style 
which was taking the air across 
the street, attended by two or 
three uniforms. " That mode ! " 
and the curls rustled. "And 
taste ! I wish you could have 
seen Grandmother van de 
Burg, a picture in the Dutch 
style." 

"A pleated mutch and a 
Walcheren bodice, I suppose," 
replied Marie, a little nettled. 

"Pleated mutch! a Wal- 
cheren bodice ! " Tante Lotje 
snorted. "Do you think, girl, 
she was a peasant because. she 
wasn't a van Heesteren ? " 

Tante Lotje, it will be seen, 
never argued in generalities 
It was this which made her 
so discomposing an enemy, 
so agreeable a gossip. Her 
sallies, carried right into the 
enemy's citadel thus, plucking 
at the heart of his conceits, 
gave Tante Lotje quite a notor- 
iety in The Hague. The 
Hagenaars looked upon her 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



291 



through their quizzing-glasses 
as a curiosity that matched 
well with her brother, the Gen- 
eral a prickly hero, bred on 
the pure, gross national stock ; 
and tolerated her accordingly. 
Within the wide circle of the 
General's acquaintance, the re- 
ceiving of whom Marie found 
easy after the Arnhem train- 
ing, there was another, smaller, 
a circle of Marie's own age 
and for the most part not 
of her own sex, which not 
only tolerated Tante Lotje, but 
even swung some adulatory in- 
cense before her. They liked 
nothing better than to draw 
the bitterer edge of her tongue, 
even if sometimes they suffered 
from it themselves. Tante Lotje 
was a child in her outspoken- 
ness, better than a child, for 
she had a whole world of phil- 
osophy at her back. Only, 
her philosophy did not guide 
her tongue, or her humours : 
Tante Lotje spoke and acted 
first, and reflected afterwards. 
No : it might be said that she 
employed her philosophy, not to 
back her fancy, but to hedge. 
Tante Lotje "putting her foot 
in it " (as the vulgar figure has 
it) and then trying to withdraw 
it, was a perennial entertain- 
ment. It came about thus, 
through the duenna herself, 
that some young folks, chiefly 
officers, fell into the habit of 
dropping in when dinner was 
over, for tea-drinking, or im- 
mediately after that, and be- 
came on an easy footing with 
the household. The footing 
was so easy that Tante Lotje, 
happening to reflect upon it 
as a duenna, was shot with a 
doubt if this was exactly what 



the General had put her there 
to authorise. She would have 
put an end to it there and then 
accordingly ; but it was char- 
acteristic of Marie that on this 
one point she chose to hold 
ground with her aunt. She 
had acquiesced in some primary, 
old-fashioned restrictions that 
Tante Lotje imposed upon her 
freedom outside restrictions, 
even, which it was the special 
privilege, or the special boast, 
of the military class to ignore ; 
but here she was firm. 

" Am I not betrothed ? And 
am not I to have the privileges 
of a betrothed person?" she 
would say. 

Tante Lotje's eyes opened at 
this, but it was typical of 
Marie's mind. Betrothal, to 
her, was a privet hedge within 
which it was not only the priv- 
ilege, but the duty, of my lady 
to take the sun all through the 
hours it shone. Privet hedges, 
Tante Lotje might have re- 
minded her, are not insuperable 
barriers ; but Tante Lotje no 
more reflected than she argued 
in a figure. She had, however, 
a very sensitive eye for the 
reality. There was, in this 
inner circle, a laughing, open- 
faced boy, Christiaan Kemmers, 
a cousin - german of the be- 
trothed de Bruin, and in the 
Engineers. With General van 
de Burg he had been rather a 
favourite, not because of his 
military capacity his liking 
ran rather to scientific research 
but because of a good-nature 
in making a losing second with 
Marie at ombre. In the ombre 
days, Marie and Christiaan 
played heart-whole. She had 
her father; he, his laboratory. 



292 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



Besides they had each other 
partners at ombre. Possibly 
Tante Lotje was the only per- 
son shrewd enough to have 
the suspicion flash through her 
mind that Marie and Remmers 
were in love. Certainly she 
was the only person who, sus- 
pecting it, would have immedi- 
ately put her suspicions into 
words. 

Her manner of doing so was 
characteristic. Kemmers had 
drunk tea and left, and the 
household had retired for the 
night, when Tante Lotje broke 
in upon Marie's disrobing un- 
bidden. In that there was 
nothing unusual : to Tante 
Lotje, in the silence of her own 
room, there came scores of 
thoughts which she deemed it 
necessary to communicate there 
and then to Marie across the 
passage. To-night she paid her 
niece one visit only, in disha- 
bille, with a tumbler of water in 
one hand, her tooth-brush in 
the other. Marie saw the curls 
appear round the door, heard 
shot at her the words, " Marie ! 
Hey ! I believe you're in love 
with Kemmers, Marie," and 
was left to reflect upon them 
undisturbed. 

When the intrusion was re- 
ferred to next day by Tante 
Lotje, hedging Marie re- 
marked, without any heat of 
denial, that Remmers, any one 
could see, came for Tante Lotje's 
company, not hers. Marie, one 
gathers, was not quite a fool. 
But Tante Lotje certainly was 
not one either; and she was 
not to be put off the scent so 
easily. She whispered her con- 
viction to each of her acquaint- 
ance, demanding from each 



frank verification, as from the 
only one on earth whom she 
would have taken into her con- 
fidence. Her temperament was 
such, such her instinct in battle, 
that in the campaign which 
followed she volunteered in 
various services. Now she was 
on the side of the General, a 
father with wishes. Again she 
was fighting for de Bruin, a 
betrothed with rights. Most 
annoying, and shocking indeed, 
to Marie, who calmly denied 
that any delicate situation ex- 
isted, was a sentimental attitude 
which Tante Lotje chose at 
times to take up in defence of 
the claims of true love. Mean- 
while, once, she found herself 
a duenna with a conscience, and 
conscience happening to tell her 
that the General ought to 
know, she forthwith discussed 
the situation as she conceived 
it, with enormous emphasis and 
great vagueness, in a post- 
scriptum to a letter to her 
brother. This letter, with the 
sting in its tail, was beyond 
recall when Tante Lotje began 
to reflect on what she had done. 
It was then that it came home 
to her how inconvenient for a 
mercurial person with corre- 
spondents is a monthly mail. 
Knowing the General, she had 
uneasy fears of the consequences 
of her act for his daughter ; and, 
characteristically, in the weeks 
that followed the calm stream 
of her affection for Marie had 
its surface rippled by exuberant 
acts of kindness. It is with 
regret that we say it of so in- 
trepid a fighter Tante Lotje 
was in a funk. 

The bolt from the East the 
General's ultimatum on the 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



293 



affair of the post-scriptum 
fell one night in the end of 
June. His letter, addressed to 
Marie, breathed a prickly affec- 
tion, though it rapped out its 
sentiments like words of com- 
mand. " There was order once 
more on the coast," the General 
wrote ; " the rascals have been 
brought to book," and he added 
gleefully a few grim details 
of ways and means. "But 
they were not going to fall into 
the mistake that had been made 
before of lifting the iron hand 
the moment it had been clapped 
hard down. He was remaining 
out there for some months, it 
might be for a year and more, 
de Bruin with him, and Marie 
was to come out and join 
them." There was no reproach, 
or appeal, or allusion to any 
private information received, 
just his orders, precisely de- 
tailed. The curls shook with 
agitation at sight of the letter. 
Marie read it, without visible 
flush or cloud of countenance. 
Contrary to her usual practice, 
she did not pass it on to her 
aunt, but laid it folded beside 
her cup, and took up her book 
again, content to mention that 
the General was well. 

"And de Bruin?" Tante 
Lotje asked. 

"Very well," Marie replied. 

Tante Lotje fancied that 
Marie was a little distraite, 
even a little cold; but that 
may have been the conscience of 
Tante Lotje the woman, not 
the duenna. She was thirsting 
for information which Marie 
carefully withheld, and though 
she was in and out of Marie's 
room that night inviting con- 
fidence in every stage of dis- 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



habille, she had to retire to 
bed with the thirst unslaked. 
During the next two days she 
mounted the scale of curiosity 
and irritation, until, reaching a 
pitch insufferably acute, 

"Did he say nothing about 
Remmers ? " she asked her niece, 
in a whisper of excitement. 

Marie was very far from be- 
ing a humourist, but she laughed 
to herself to see the cat she sus- 
pected come leaping from the 
bag. 

" Never mentioned his name ! " 
She playfully gave her aunt the 
answer back in her own tone of 
suppressed agitation. 

"Didn't he? ... Of course 
not. . . . Only, you see, ... I 
thought. And, Marie, you 
would rather marry Remmers, 
wouldn't you ? " 

To this Marie replied, stiffly, 
with the news that she was 
going out to de Bruin. 

What ! She was going to 
India. Over that sea. She. 
Her dear Marie. And they 
would never see each other 
more. It was a good thing, at 
least, that they hadn't preserved 
the peas as they had intended. 
And Tante Lotje must leave 
The Hague her beloved Hague. 
Well, well. Michiel was a clever 
man, and he knew best. And 
she would go back to her own 
comfortable house. But Rem- 
mers ! Remmers ! Come here, 
child, and let me kiss you. 
Hey ! And they would have 
all the trouble of a marriage. 
A marriage with the glove. It 
would kill her. She knew : 
she would make some raspberry 
wine for Marie on the voyage. 
Poor child ! Now, calm your- 
self, Marie dear. As for her 
TJ 



294 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



she must begin to get things 
ready that very hour. She 
must write her brother Maarten 
immediately. If she was going 
back to her own house, the 
windows had better be opened 
at once. 

Thus Tante Lotje wept and 
protested and grumbled and 
worked, congratulated Marie, 
sympathised with her, scolded 
her, kissed her, jibed her, pre- 
sented her with little unneces- 
sary articles for the voyage 
bought out of her own slender 
store, all in a breath, in the 
most inconvenient places, and 
at the most irrelevant moments 
of the day and night, up to the 
moment that the bride set sail 
for the East. 

Marie, following the Dutch 
custom, went out as a wife, 
married with the glove. Ac- 
cording to the learned, the pass- 
age of a glove from hand to 
hand was sign and seal among 
the ancients of a transference 
of unmovable property ; and 
from this they derive the cere- 
mony of marriage with a sub- 
stitute whereby the Dutch 
bride at home is legally vested 
in the possession of a property, 
to all intents and purposes un- 
movable a husband in the 
Indian Ocean. The glove, it 
is true, has disappeared from 
the ceremonial, but the name 
seems to warrant the conclu- 
sion of the pundits. Be that 
as it may, the institution has 
material advantages which 
mere antiquity could not give 
it, else it should not survive 
among so sagacious a people. 
The bride makes the voyage 
under protection of a husband's 
name. Shipboard, which ex- 
perience tells is a severe test of 



affection that is pledged, not 
bound, the bridegroom can now 
contemplate with a measure of 
serenity. And if, still, by an 
act of God, he should have to 
hold out his arms for her in 
vain, or she should find no 
arms awaiting her into which 
to fall, consolation is provided 
by the pensions and worldly 
goods in which the State and 
the marriage contract vest the 
survivor. 

In Marie's case the ceremony 
was simple, and civil only. 
The Maarten van de Burgs, a 
sprinkling of de Bruins and 
van Heesterens, and, of course, 
Tante Lotje, composed the 
marriage party which drove 
to the town -house at noon. 
Marie wore few of the trap- 
pings of a bride : a spray or 
two of orange blossoms some- 
where on a morning costume. 
Dr Maarten, in the dignity of 
evening dress, was a mild re- 
plica of his brother the General. 
When he advanced to take the 
bride's arm to lead her to her 
seat in front of the Registrar, 
people said smilingly that he 
made a handsome bridegroom. 
Tante Lotje was embracing 
Marie in a corner at the mo- 
ment, and she whispered in her 
ear, " Eh ! You should have 
had Bemmers as a substitute, 
Marie," and kissed her again, 
with tears. 

There was a little reception 
of relations when they drove 
back from the town-house, and 
the Maarten van de Burgs re- 
mained to dinner and unrav- 
elled with Tante Lotje the 
various pedigrees and private 
histories of the van Heesterens 
who had graced the ceremony. 

The following day the house 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



295 



in the Voorhout was closed. 
Marie went on board under 
care of the captain at Am- 
sterdam, the General's or- 
ders were for embarkation 
there, not at Marseilles. Tante 
Lotje and Uncle Maarten 
waved their "good-byes." The 
vessel steamed slowly down the 
canal, and the evening train 
bore Tante Lotje the curls 
lamenting over tear - swollen 



eyes back to her own village 
home. 

As the train swung through 
the olive shadows of the polder, 
she roused Maarten to say 

"I've never breathed it to a 
soul; so mind, don't tell that 
I said it. But Marie is in love 
with Remmers ! " 

" You've told me that before," 
said Maarten grimly, and turned 
in his corner. 



II. 



A fortnight had passed 
since Marie sailed. At Tante 
Lotje's house the curtains were 
up, the coppers polished, the 
stoves had been brought back 
from the blacksmith's and the 
silver from Uncle Maarten's. 
On the freshly-papered shelves 
of the linen-cupboard the linen 
was stacked with a sprig of 
lieve-vrouwe-bedstroo among it. 
The winter's butter had been 
bought in, and stood in jars in 
the store - room, beside glass 
bottles of morelletjes, shallots 
and gherkins in Cologne pots, 
rolpens laid in vinegar, and 
potted meats in various shapes. 
The poultry had been taken 
over from Gerrit, and successors 
found for some that had died of 
the pip. Tante Lotje had 
turned round in her house and 
made herself comfortable. And 
as she had suggested to her 
sister-in-law, the doctor's wife, 
several improvements in the 
management of her establish- 
ment which that lady was 
foolish enough not to act 
upon, Tante Lotje was feel- 
ing especially virtuous. But 
suddenly her serenity was 
overcast. 

Coffee - drinking was over, 



and Tante Lotje was in the 
kitchen directing old Saartje 
and the other maid in slicing 
the French beans through the 
mill into a blue linen -basket 
when the General's telegram 
arrived. It ran : " De Bruin 
killed stopping Marie Suez." 
Under the stun of the blow she 
was conscious of her sympathy 
gushing out towards Marie. 
Presently, recovering, her 
thought was, "You'll see, 
Michiel will order me back to 
The Hague." In fact, she spoke 
the thought out aloud, and to 
the gasp of consternation that 
old Saartje gave said 

"It's true. You'U see. We 
needn't pickle the snijboontjes 
now," and stopped the mill. 

Putting on her black straw, 
she ran to Dr Maarten's with 
the news. At the gate she 
turned back and re-entered the 
kitchen for a moment to tell 
Saartje that they might as well 
go on with the beans. They 
could tin them, and then they 
would do for The Hague house. 
The Doctor's wife had driven 
into the town. The Doctor 
himself was out with his gun 
and Gerrit and the dog. They 
had gone over the river, down 



296 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



by the Laantjes it was believed. 
Tante Lotje was in despair, 
until her eye fell on the horn 
that hung in the surgery a 
battered old metal thing, a con- 
trivance of the Doctor for his 
speedy recall from his sport to 
his patients. Finding no one 
about the place whom she could 
intrust with her errand, she 
whipped off the horn and 
started herself. The field- 
workers had gone back to the 
harvesting, and the village 
slumbered heavily under the 
peat-smoke. Down the street, 
across the square, along the 
meadow-path ran Tante Lotje. 
The bridge, when she reached the 
river, was drawn to let a high- 
stacked peat-boat crawl through, 
and Tante Lotje hummed im- 
patient on the bank. Once 
across, she soon 'was at the 
Laantjes, and she ran through 
the hop -trailed alleys winding 
her horn, and bringing the 
whole polder into consterna- 
tion at the thought of some 
one in it at death's door. 
Above the young hazels and 
beeches could be seen a ruddy 
sun tumbling among creamy 
clouds ; but a light September 
mist shrouded the meadows, and 
presently through it loomed two 
figures, gigantic, leaping the 
wide ditches with their pols- 
stoks. 

"It's Miss van de Burg!" 
cried Gerrit, coming up first ; 
but in her excitement Tante 
Lotje still held on her way with 
the horn at her lips. 

" Mijn Hemel, Charlotte ! 
what are you toot - tootering 
about ? " cried Maarten, when 
the two met breathless. 

She pushed the telegram into 
his hand. 



"Well, well," he said when 
he had read it, and folded it 
up _ Well, well. It's bad 

news, bad And now, 

Charlotte, you had better be 
getting back home. I think, 
Gerrit, that covey must have 
settled over in Piet Zurk's 
meadow." 

"But, my dear man," cried 
Tante Lotje in vexation, "you 
do not think of me. I'll have 
to go back to The Hague, you'll 
see, just when I've got every- 
thing " 

" In truth, I wasn't thinking 
of you, Charlotte," says Maarten 
grimly, and setting out after 
his partridges. "I was think- 
ing of Marie, dear girl, and of 
Michiel." 

And thereupon Tante thought 
of them too, and went home 
heavy-hearted. 

She carried to The Hague, 
on Marie's return thither two 
weeks later, a whole arsenal 
of refreshment for her stricken 
niece, denuding, in order to do 
so, the store-room of its morellas 
and raspberry, and the rest ; 
and having plied the widow 
with these, she tried upon her 
an emollient that she had found 
most precious in soothing her 
own grief 

"Now you can marry Hem- 
mers, A^/" 

"You forget, you forget," 
Marie said, laying her hand 
with a restraining pressure on 
Tante Lotje's arm. 

"My dear girl, it's sad, I 
know it's sad. But it might 
have been worse. Suppose you 
had been in love with him." 

"I pray you, I beg of you. 
Tante Lotje, do not add to the 
burden of my sorrow." 

There was something in 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



297 



Marie's voice at once so severe 
and so appealing that sent 
Tante Lotje to her room in 
wonderment. 

"A touch of sun in the Red 
Sea," she said, tapping her 
head, and addressing herself 
confidentially in the mirror. 

The next day, or the day 
following that, cards arrived, 
forwarded from Tante Lotje's 
own house, announcing the en- 
gagement of Kemmers, who had 
been posted to Zutphen. That 
young gentleman, flung into a 
despondency by Marie's mar- 
riage, had been caught on the 
rebound. 

" Nelly van Staate ! Is not 
that the plain Amsterdam girl 
that was visiting these people 
in the Celebes Straat with her 
sister the plainer of the two ? " 
Tante Lotje asked spitefully, 
tossing the card from her. 

"I have heard that she has 
blossomed into a beauty," said 
Marie, apparently from an al- 
titude at which love and beauty 
have no existence. 

"Poof!" cried Tante Lotje, 
stung into asperity. " You had 
better write off and congratu- 
late him." 

"I am going to," Marie re- 
plied. "He was, of course, my 
husband's cousin." 

Tante Lotje walked off in 
disgust. She was uneasy about 
her niece, and she had reason 
to be more and more so as 
the days went on. Marie was 
not her Marie. One knew, and 
could understand it, Tante Lotje 
said to herself, that when a girl 
marries she presents an altered 
complexion to the world. She 
changes. One saw that every 
day. But it took time. It 
took time even to set up that 



glass of the dual personality 
of man and wife through 
which each is seen in changed 
hues. Whereas Marie, here, 
had only got as far as Suez 
as a wife, to return forthwith 
a widow, without a touch of 
the hand, a look of the eye, a 
word, a scrap of writing passing 
between man and wife. She 
had not even seen him dead. 
Yet in that short time her 
nature had undergone some 
subtle process of transmuta- 
tion. Tante Lotje could not 
understand it. When people 
remarked, as most did, how 
deep had been Marie's affection 
for de Bruin, Tante Lotje 
snorted, in the sureness of her 
private conviction ; but she 
could not deny Marie's grief, 
and her philosophy had no ex- 
planation for the contradiction. 

At first she thought it a con- 
ventional mourning merely, and 
was disgusted, for then it was 
carried by Marie the length of 
rank hypocrisy. Decency de- 
manded some recognition of 
widowhood, but here was Marie 
fulfilling decency's demands in- 
decently. It was thus that a 
minx and a baggage gives her- 
self airs, and she could not have 
believed it of Marie. Yet very 
likely it was true. The situa- 
tion, always delicate and diffi- 
cult, was anomalous, indeed 
ridiculous, in the case of Marie, 
whose want of affection for de 
Bruin when living could not be 
allowed to regulate her show of 
grief for him now that he was 
dead. That must be it, Tante 
Lotje said. The position evi- 
dently was too involved and 
embarrassing for Marie, who 
had failed in it. 

But very soon Tante Lotje 



298 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



recognised that Marie's grief 
was not merely assumed. That 
it was real, a sap taken up by 
the roots of her nature and cir- 
culating through it, she could 
not believe. On the other hand, 
she was sure that Marie no 
more wore it as an appropriate 
mantle than she put on her 
widow's weeds because they 
were becoming. It was some 
months, however, before she 
reached this conviction, and 
was thrown back upon an ap- 
parently insoluble problem; and 
meanwhile its manifestations 
had become ten times more 
puzzling. On the day which 
brought the General's telegram 
to Tante Lotje, the evening 
issue of the ' Kotterdammer ' 
contained a brief announcement 
of de Bruin's death in a brush 
with the enemy. By -and -by 
further despatches disclosed the 
story of a glorious deed of arms. 
A wily and treacherous enemy, 
withdrawing to the hills in pre- 
tended defeat, making overtures 
of submission and keeping quiet 
through months, had lulled the 
Dutch into an assurance of safe- 
ty. General van de Burg had 
sailed for Batavia, and expected 
to await Marie's arrival there. 
Suddenly the enemy descended 
upon the forts at the coast with 
a cunningly concerted stealthy 
attack. De Bruin with a body 
of men lay in their path, and he 
was taken in a trap. One way 
only of escape, and it not to be 
thought of, opened for him 
retreat through the hills and 
by a wide circuit to the coast. 
Meanwhile the enemy, rushing 
through the pass, would take 
the main body by surprise. To 
hold the pass for any length of 
time was impossible. The most 



de Bruin could do was to hold 
it till not a man of his force was 
left alive, trusting that by the 
delay the forts would be saved. 
So he determined. All day long 
the slaughter went on, man 
after man falling in the fierce 
assault. De Bruin, wounded 
again and again, stuck to his 
post, encouraging his devoted 
soldiers to sell their lives as 
dearly as possible, and when 
at length the enemy swept 
through the pass over dead 
bodies, it was to find their 
attack anticipated and to be 
driven back to the hills. 
Soon all Holland was roused 
by this story to the tip-top of 
enthusiasm and admiration. 
The name of de Bruin was on 
every lip. He had taken the 
General's place as the national 
hero, and with an instinct of 
gratitude to both, the people 
turned to Marie to pay their 
tributes when it became known 
that the General's daughter 
was also the Captain's wife, and 
actually had been on her way to 
him when she received the news 
of his death. In this reflected 
glory Marie shone serenely. 
She received deputations bear- 
ing the people's condolences 
with a dignity of manner that 
was almost grandiose. Into her 
greetings and reception of her 
acquaintance there slipped a 
note of condescension so soon as 
her husband's name was men- 
tioned. Little crowds followed 
her and Tante Lotje in the 
streets, and now it was Tante 
Lotje who coaxed her, in vain, 
to escape public observation. 

"Let the good people pay 
their tribute to my brave hus- 
band," Marie would say, with 
sad resignation. 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



299 



And then Tante Lotje, eyeing 
her with the same kind of sus- 
picious curiosity with which the 
Hagenaars had looked upon 
herself in an earlier day, was 
silent. The majesty of Marie's 
sorrow disconcerted her. 

It wounded her, too, in her 
affection, which held surprising 
tender depths. For it was con- 
stantly happening now that 
Marie had confidences into 
which her aunt was not per- 
mitted to follow her. They 
were confidences always, of 
course, arising out of this 
widowhood, this astonishing, 
stupefying widowhood. It was 
notorious, for example, that de 
Bruin was rich ; indeed, pre- 
cisely how rich was a speculation 
that made a main channel for the 
conversation of all the van de 
Burgs. They knew, and every- 
body guessed, that by his death 
Marie became possessed of a 
fortune. There was the pension, 
also, and there were stories 
about it being calculated on a 
larger scale, and even (though 
this was merely a canard) of a 
special allowance to the widow. 
But on this matter, the very 
matter on which Tante Lotje 
had the most acute curiosity, 
Marie was silent. She received 
by every mail documents and 
papers, which required her at- 
tention for hours at a time. 
For the easier despatch of all 
this business she had settled 
herself in the General's cabinet, 
and there she sat writing and 
snipping coupons, and (as Tante 
Lotje said) Lord knows what ! 
The house seemed to be full of 
notaries. Two or three times 
a week, too, Tante Lotje had to 
escort her to the bureau of 
Banker Schmidt, with whom 



Marie was closeted in long con- 
sultation, while she herself had 
a seat in the cold in the outer 
office. It was unfriendly. It 
was cruel. It was not as if 
Tante Lotje wished to pry into 
Marie's affairs, Tante Lotje her- 
self said. " Heaven knew, she 
wasn't inquisitive." But for a 
niece to behave to an aunt, her 
own father's sister, with so 
much reserve, not merely re- 
fraining from inviting her con- 
fidence or advice, but positively, 
it really seemed, taking precau- 
tions against her overhearing 
a flying word or unwittingly 
chancing upon a stray paper, 
no, it wasn't nice. 

She could not refrain from 
telling Marie so at last ; and 
Marie replied, quite frankly, 

"My dear Tante Lotje, if I 
were to tell you all these things 
you would be sure to tell every- 
body, and you know " 

"Well, have I ever all my 
life!" cried Tante Lotje; "do 
you think I can't keep a secret ? 
Let me tell you, I can keep my 
mouth shut as close as any per- 
son living. Why, girl, I've 
known all about you since you 
were three years old. Every- 
thing," she added bitterly, " ex- 
cept what has happened to you 
since that voyage to Suez and 
back And have you known 
me once to breathe an indis- 
creet whisper ? Tell everybody, 
forsooth ! " 

"Aunt, dear," Marie replied, 
"if it were only my own busi- 
ness it would not greatly matter 
if you did. But you forget that 
these affairs intrusted to me 
concern my noble husband. To 
let in the vulgar gaze upon 
them would be sacrilege. I may 
not tell anybody anybody. 



300 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



Why, they are in a measure 
affairs of State." 

"Och! dear folks," cried 
Tante Lotje, fanning herself in 
her room. "There is a widow 
for you with a capital W ! " 

In the spring the General 
returned to Europe. He was 
still the successful campaigner, 
the hero, but this home-coming 
did not hold for him the acute 
triumph of the earlier. There 
is no bite like the first bite. 
Moreover, the nation is not 
particularly martial, and it had 
rather overstretched its en- 
thusiasm in the de Bruin affair. 
These things are not mentioned 
to make you understand that 
the General was in any way 
soured or envious : he was a 
brave and generous soldier. 
But possibly his public recep- 
tion may have made him pe- 
culiarly sensitive to that await- 
ing him in his own home. The 
firsfc hint of trouble it was a 
small matter, but indicative of 
many to follow arose out of 
Marie's occupancy of the cab- 
inet. The General wished im- 
mediate entry, and got his way 
without a word of demur, but 
it was noticeable that Marie 
reflected a moment before she 
agreed to quit. It was not 
that she hesitated, but simply 
that she considered for a second, 
like one sounding the depths of 
duty. He was less successful 
in the matter of the notaries, 
whom he would have hustled 
with his well-known energy of 
despatch. Marie interfered to 
indicate gently that their busi- 
ness, being her husband's, was 
her own. The General shot at 
her a sharp glance from the 
grey eyes under grizzled bas- 
tions, and Tante Lotje winked 



to herself. She would do noth- 
ing to assist him to an under- 
standing : there was too much 
gratification for her in the sight 
of the General in the same 
plight as herself. Following a 
few more such skirmishes, there 
came to the General an uneasy 
sense of a position which was 
made more intolerable by the 
deference he met with out of 
doors. On the Plein, at the 
club where there were living 
heroes, by Gad ! and not relicts 
of dead ones Michiel van de 
Burg was cock of the walk, un- 
disputed. "Bombs and gren- 
ades ! " he was walking home 
to dinner after his five-o'clock 
borreltje, and this obsequious- 
ness was in his head with the 
vermuth " Bombs and gren- 
ades ! He would show her ! " 

What he showed her with 
less, perhaps, than his accus- 
tomed strategy and resource 
was his plan, revolved in his 
mind ever since de Bruin's 
death, and now that he himself 
was at home, to be carried into 
action without delay a plan 
to marry her again. He men- 
tioned the chosen's name, as a 
detail. Marie stopped him 
with a gesture of shocked re- 
proach. (It wasn' t Remmers.) 
For the first time in his life the 
General conceded the enemy a 
step. 

"Very well, girl. Let it be 
somebody else. Any one you 
like. You can marry any one 
you like, but you must marry." 

Could one, by searching the 
whole world, find the man 
worthy of reclining on that 
bosom that had been her hus- 
band's, Marie asked. 

She spoke in a figure raised 
by her sentimental dutifulness, 



1899.] 



Tante Lotje. 



301 



but it gave the General an 
opening for reminding her that 
the figure was not literally 
true, and of other unique con- 
ditions of her widowed state, 
frank remarks which we may 
be permitted to omit. Marie, 
in angry amaze, bade him be 
silent. 

" Duvekatersche meid ! " cried 
her father. "Do you remem- 
ber that I am General Michiel 
van de Burg?" 

"You forget, General," re- 
plied Marie, "that I am the 
widow of de Bruin." 

"Damn de Bruin," he mut- 
tered ; and that may be taken 
as acknowledgment of his one 
defeat. 

Out of her manifold resources, 
Tante Lotje has cleared up since 
then this mystifying situation. 
Need it be said that were it 
otherwise, she should not have 
found her present historian. 
Tante Lotje always says that 
the Solution came to her dur- 
ing a conversation between the 
General and his brother Maar- 
ten. In this she is right, no 
doubt ; but it is proper to re- 
mark that her subsequent plan 
of campaign was made easy by 
certain measures taken by her 
quite undesignedly and without 
reference to it, and indeed be- 
fore the new light broke. Curi- 
ously, the clarifying conversa- 
tion referred to bore more or 
less directly on the insolubility 
of the problem : the General 
explained it, " * Out of the eater 
came forth meat ; out of the 
strong, sweetness,' as David or 
Jehoshaphat said." The Gen- 
eral's knowledge of the Scrip- 
ture was not particularly ac- 
curate, even on the military 



side, but evidently he had 
grasped their spirit. Dr Maar- 
ten had been greatly impressed 
by the stately bearing of the 
Widow "whom he hadn't the 
pleasure of living with," growled 
the General and came over it 
again and again, 

" Did not she rise to the oc- 
casion, Michiel?" 

" Rise to the occasion ! She's 
a heartless baggage," roared the 
General at length. 

"Not heartless, Michiel," 
interrupted Tante Lotje, 'when 
Maarten protested, "but just 
with a heart pretty deep down. 
And, maybe, to be sure, it's 
one or two sizes smaller than 
girls wore in my young day : 
that's why it has been so easy 
to hide it ! " 

And when Tante Lotje re- 
flected on what she had said, 
she knew that she had been 
inspired. 

The Solution was a Heart- 
finder, and Remmers, of course, 
was the man. It was for him 
to strike the rock of the 
Widow's nature, and bid its 
sweetness flow. He was the 
miner who, with the lamp 
of his own affection in hand, 
was to seek the hidden treas- 
ure, unfortunately so rare, and, 
for all parties, so desirable. 
In some such figure does Rem- 
mers, the Heart-finder, appear 
to us. Tante Lotje saw a 
Captain of Engineers, frank 
and honest as the sun still, 
but laughing out of steadier 
blue eyes, and buckled tight 
in full uniform, who came to 
the house of the Voorhout 
one afternoon, and, after in- 
terviewing the General, went 
straight to Marie and took 
her in his arms. The ob- 



302 



Tante Lotje. 



[Feb. 



stacle in the way was the 
van Staate girl ; and it was 
here that Tante Lotje's earlier 
manoeuvres stood her in good 
stead. She brought to the 
Widow one day the news that 
the Remmers - van Staate 
engagement was* broken off 
by the lady, of course. She 
did not say anything of the 
cause alleged, rumours of Rem- 
mer's affections being engaged 
elsewhere, or that these rumours 
were the reverberations of 
Tante Lotje's own stories 
whispered " but don't say 
that I said it, mind ! " in 
the echoing wastes of The 
Hague society. If Tante 
Lotje expected the news to 
surprise Marie into some tell- 
tale nutter of the eyes or 
blood, she was disappointed. 
On the contrary, the Constant 
Widow received the account 
of the van Staate girl's fickle- 
ness with so great a measure 
of complacency that Tante 
Lotje bounced out of the room 
with the curls shaking vio- 
lently. But, at any rate, it 
was easy now to bring Rem- 
mers to the rock, to the mouth 
of the treasure - cave, to the 
house in the Voorhout, to 
Marie, in fact. He came to 
the interview primed not con- 
sciously, remember, but in a 
whirl, after half-an-hour with 
Tante Lotje. And probably 
there may have reached him 
echoes of another of her whis- 
pers : " Marie is in love with 
Remmers." 

As Tante Lotje brought them 
together, so it is to her that 
we owe the knowledge of what 
passed between them. How- 
she came by it we do not 
know, we prefer not to ask. 



The Widow, it appears, ex- 
tended to the jilted Captain a 
regal sympathy, and he had 
laughed. Tante Lotje could 
hear him laugh, though she 
was far off, at the other end 
of the house of course. 

"Do you know why I broke 
off the engagement, Marie ? " 
he asked. 

"They said that she broke 
it," Marie replied. 

"Naturally," said Remmers, 
with a twinkle. 

" You, Christiaan ! " She 
spoke in sorrow and reproach. 
"You? You, faithless? You, 
so wanting in a sense of duty ? 
You, to be forgetful of all that 
your position, your profession, 
your pledges, your honour, 
your kinship with my brave, 

noble husband I am 

ashamed. I am vexed." 

("Mijn Hemel!" said Tante 
Lotje.) 

Marie spoke in sorrow, as 
one who, holding the banner 
aloft, finds the most trusted 
follower untrue to it. 

" Marie," said Remmers, some 
sternness hardening the boyish 
voice "Marie, were you al- 
ways true, faithful, to your 
professions, your pledges?" 

"Have I not atoned?" she 
cried. "Have I not atoned? 
Ah ! Christiaan, that night on 
the Red Sea, when the moon 
shone down ..." 

"By heaven, Marie!" Rem- 
mers cried in anger. "You 
are without a heart. Atoned ! 
How could you atone? What 
was there to atone for to him, 
at least. You are living in an 
illusion. Deceiving others, de- 
ceiving yourself. Duty ! It's 
the cant of the ungenerous 
heart, the idealess mind. We 



1899." 



Tante Lotje. 



303 



have a duty to ourselves. You 
have, I have. Marie, I was a 
fool. But when I saw what 
was before me, knew what I 
was doing, if I had not drawn 
back I should have been worse 
than a fool, a rascal. When I 
knew that my heart was not 
the woman's to whom I had 
pledged it, if this precious duty 
of yours demanded that I should 
pretend it was, was there not 
a higher duty bidding me sacri- 
fice profession, pledges, position, 
honour even, for a higher hon- 
our " 

" Ah ! you broke off the en- 
gagement for me, Christiaan," 
Marie said. 

("The minx!" cried Tante 
Lotje.) 

"Before God, no," said Rem- 
mers. "Because of you yes. 
For you how could that be? 
Bid not I believe in this mum- 
mery ? " 

" Mummery ! " 

" Yes, mummery. Body and 
soul you are exactly what you 
were, yet you play the mourner 
for a man you never loved, a 
man who never stirred the heart 
within you, or ever . . ." 

" Christiaan ! " 

"It's true, as I tell you. 
True. Tush ! " Remmers flung 
out his arms in vexation. 
"What's the use of all this? 
. . . Marie ! Marie ! Cannot 
you be true to yourself ? Don't 
you know that you love me ? " 

(" Ah ! " whispered Tante 
Lotje.) 

It was characteristic of 
Marie that, when she aban- 



doned the Widow's position 
of Duty and atonement (in- 
spired by the moon shining 
on the Red Sea), she retired 
upon that of maidenly obed- 
ience. Remmers, she said, 
must go to her father. When 
he went, he was a little stag- 
gered to find the General so 
hearty. 

"Certainly, my boy; go in 
and try, though if you succeed 
you're a deucedly cleverer player 
at some other games than you 
are at ombre. Go in, my boy. 
If you win her, you're welcome 
to her." 

Tante Lotje believed that she 
heard Remmers go in, but she 
thought she might as well make 
sure. The spectacle that met 
her eye, when she popped her 
head round the door, made the 
curls rustle roguishly. 

"I knew it! I knew it! I 
never breathed it to a soul, 
but I knew it," she cried ; and 
popped out again. 

"Well, of all the " she 

cried aloud in the hall, but for 
once Tante Lotje could not find 
her words. She flew to the 
General, and shook the curls 
upon his neck. " Oh ! Michiel. 
Marie " she cried. 

"The baggage," he said, dis- 
engaging her, and Tante Lotje 
laughed. 

" 'Deed, she's no great catch," 
she said to herself. But from 
what she told the General, we 
gather that Marie rose to the 
occasion once more, and no doubt 
Uncle Maarten was satisfied. 

Apparently Remmers was. 



304 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



[Feb. 



JAMAICA : AN IMPRESSION. 



So many sayings and pro- 
verbs which are unauthentic, 
untrue, or contradictory have 
passed into common usage, that 
I am glad to find one for whose 
aptness I am prepared to vouch. 
When Columbus was desired by 
his sovereign to describe Jamaica, 
we are told that he crumpled 
up a piece of paper lengthwise, 
saying, " That, your Majesty, is 
like the island of Jamaica." 
Both true and ben trovato ; for 
I cannot think of any other 
way, even nowadays, in which 
one could better convey the idea 
of the long, low, wrinkled coast, 
peaked here, low -lying there, 
indented everywhere, along 
which we glided one morning 
in early November before the 
sun was up. A grey sky, a 
steel-blue sea ; and, here and 
there, from the dull background 
of the night-chilled mountains, 
bronze-green hill-tops giving a 
metallic tone to the neutral 
atmosphere that precedes the 
day. But suddenly " the dawn 
came up like thunder," and 
night was gone. For the sky 
blushed pink, the sea became a 
crimson lake, the mountains in 
the distance "warmed into blue, 
the hills softened into green, 
and the gorgeous colouring of 
the tropical foliage lent radi- 
ance to this wonderful and im- 
mediate transformation. Now 
we could see the little log- 
cabins or more substantial 
white houses lying low amid 
the groves of palm - trees or 
bananas that adorn the shore- 
line on the approach to King- 



ston; whilst upon the hill-top 
gleamed a white thread, which 
is the barracks for the garrison 
up at Newcastle, some five or 
six miles from the capital. 

I need not stay to describe 
Kingston, for it is not unlike 
many other towns that are to 
be found in the tropics. It 
gives one the impression of a 
city planted in a garden ; of 
many narrow, rather dirty, 
arcaded streets, with broad 
deep gutters running at right 
angles to the aggressive tram- 
car lines, which cause the very 
soul to be jolted out of your 
body as you drive along in a 
buggy ; of clouds of black faces, 
for the most part merry and 
excited ; of males in dun-colour, 
females in white ; of cattle and 
horses being driven through the 
main streets ; of women smok- 
ing short clay pipes, as from a 
lofty saddle between heavily 
laden panniers they guide 
beasts of burden to the market. 
Rarely a white face shines 
through the throng ; but if it 
does, it can generally be traced 
to the ubiquitous British soldier, 
or to some younger son who has 
come out to look for employ- 
ment in the intervals of polo- 
playing and other tropical 
exercises. 

But it was not mine to stay 
long in Kingston, for my final 
destination lay right across the 
island, in the north-west corner 
almost, at Knockalva in the 
county of Cornwall in the parish 
of Hanover. There is a rail- 
way-system which leads to this 



1899. 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



305 



distant spot ; but the reasons for 
laying the road through a great 
deal of the country which it 
now traverses are hard to as- 
certain. The line as an aes- 
thetic route is magnificent ; for 
in the space of six hours it 
passes over hill and dale, past 
orange groves, coffee planta- 
tions, sugar-fields, pasture land, 
and banana cultivations, through 
malarial swamp and densest 
bush. Indeed there is not a 
phase of Jamaican life or 
Jamaican industry which can- 
not be seen en passant from the 
windows of the railway-carriage 
between Kingston and Montego 
Bay. As a financial enterprise, 
however, the railway is nearly 
a failure : its grades are very 
steep, its curves are very sharp, 
its trains in consequence are 
few, and must be light ; but its 
freight charges are the reverse. 
I do not know whether the 
railway company have learned 
from their trade-cousins in the 
old country this admirable 
method of discouraging the 
transportation and diffusion of 
home industries; of extorting 
any possible profit that the 
producer might reap, in freight 
charges between the seat of 
industry and the market or 
port. The fact remains, how- 
ever, that transportation rates 
are throttling the producer at 
certain points on this line. He 
sees himself paying not only a 
reasonable price for his own 
goods, but also an unreasonable 
addition, to defray the expense 
of running the railway over the 
"Cockpit" country (which re- 
turns nothing at all for the 
compliment), and through jungle 
and bush which will not be 



marketable for another half- 
century. But the reasons why 
this Cockpit route was preferred 
to another along the Great 
River Valley, with its fertile 
surroundings and incomparably 
greater facilities, are locked in 
the bosoms of the short-sighted 
apostles of the "cheap and 
nasty" who were originally 
responsible for the line. 

However, not being freight, 
and paying in consequence only 
15s. for a journey of ninety- 
four miles, which occupies from 
five and a half to six hours, I 
was free to admire the profu- 
sion of vegetation and glorious 
scenery which beset me upon 
all sides, to note the uproarious 
excitement at every railway- 
station where there were more 
than six persons assembled, and 
to listen to the conversations of 
my fellow - passengers, mostly 
fruit-growers and pen-keepers, 
as to the state of the island. 
Poverty was asserted to exist, 
but in very varying degrees ; 
remedies were suggested, but 
none of them referred to any 
industry save that in which the 
speaker was engaged ; threats 
were uttered, such as annexa- 
tion to Canada, or, failing that, 
to America in the full assur- 
ance of an enthusiastic recep- 
tion either from the Dominion 
or the United States ; many 
causes were assigned ; blame 
was heaped on everything ex- 
cept the lethargy and want of 
push and enterprise which 
seem to me responsible for 
much of the existing stagna- 
tion and depression. 

About five o'clock we reached 
Montpelier station, and started 
off on a seven-miles' drive to 



306 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



[Feb. 



Knockalva past the one estate 
where a new industry is being 
started, one which will soon, 
by its profits, prove to the 
laggards in the island that the 
use of new appliances (including 
bright brains) to old material 
is not synonymous with rash 
and ruinous speculation, but is 
the only method of keeping 
abreast with the changed con- 
ditions and competitions of to- 
day. I hope I may refer to it 
without offence to the owner. 
It is an establishment set up 
within the last twelve months 
by Mr Ellis of Shettlewood, the 
neighbouring property, to dry 
bananas for home consumption 
and foreign export, as figs are 
now dried. By one process an 
excellent preserved fruit is thus 
added to our dessert-table, whilst 
by another the coarser species 
of banana are converted into 
first-rate cattle food. Mr Ellis 
is assisted in this enterprise by 
three gentlemen of varied ex- 
perience and intellectual attain- 
ments. Two of them are Swiss, 
Herr Otto Ziircher, the princi- 
pal, and Herr Bosshard ; whilst 
the third, who is the chemist, is 
a German, by name Dr Leuscher. 
These gentleman do not let the 
grass grow under their feet : 
they work four silos, experi- 
menting with the different 
grasses that abound in the 
neighbourhood ; they plant to- 
bacco, and cure it with the 
assistance of Cuban experts, 
who have wisely withdrawn 
from their native island; and 
they benefit the neighbourhood 
by employing some 200 hands 
at the ordinary rate of wages. 
Every well-wisher to Jamaica 
should hope for the success of 



this public - spirited undertak- 
ing ; for thus alone will the 
inhabitants be led to follow 
Mr Ellis's example. 

But, with this passing de- 
scription of the work carried 
on at Montpelier Factory, we 
must proceed to Knockalva, 
which is the central subject of 
this paper. There was, indeed, 
little else to delay us on the 
road, though I would willingly 
have stayed to admire the pic- 
turesque Brahmin cattle which 
pasture and work upon the 
Shettlewood estate : fine fel- 
lows these, imported from In- 
dia ; light in colour, wild in 
temper, tractable in work, and 
admirably suited to the climate 
of Jamaica. Knockalva is an 
old family estate, or rather clus- 
ter of estates, which has been 
in the possession of Malcolms 
for many, many generations : 
far back into remote slavery 
days the record goes to show 
the forebears of the present 
employees working for the an- 
cestors of the present owner ; 
whilst a clannish tradition binds 
master and man as loyally to- 
gether to-day in this distant 
island as ever it did in the 
Highlands of Scotland. One 
did not need the quasi-oriental 
forms of welcome in which the 
negroes love to indulge to tell 
one that ; nor even the friendly 
expressions that stole over their 
kindly dark faces on my ap- 
proach : for it was patent in 
the unvarying cheerfulness with 
which I knew they worked, 
sparing themselves neither day 
nor night in their endeavour 
to please one, in their untiring 
efforts to make my short visit 
" agreeaber for massa." In 



1899.] 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



307 



truth, a fortnight procures a 
holiday all too short to spend, 
at the cool season of the year, 
in this delightful climate. There 
is so much to do, so many things 
to see ; such a variety of culti- 
vations new to the Englishman 
on his first visit to the tropics, 
such novel scenery and sur- 
roundings the whole day long, 
that one must be up betimes * 
indeed to prove only a few of 
the delights in store. To sleep 
under mosquito-curtains for the 
first time, and hear the little 
devils raging furiously without, 
is in itself a delicious sensation : 
to be awaked at six in the 
morning by a silent little bare- 
footed maid, who brings my 
coffee extracted from the bean 
that was only picked last week, 
and oranges that were wet 
with dew upon the tree five 
minutes ago : to have her fling 
open the door which leads on 
to the wooden verandah look- 
ing east, and then from my 
bed to see, beneath thick fes- 
toons of heavy creepers, the sun 
rising over the hills in the dis- 
tance, with palm-trees and ban- 
anas waving lightly in the fore- 
ground : then, scaring a hum- 
ming-bird out of the room and 
hunting a jolly little green 
lizard off the towel-horse, to 
stroll out upon the balcony 
and enjoy the breeze, the sun- 
shine, and the scent of morning, 
these are among the every- 
d av jy s f Jamaica. 

My first visit was to "the 
yard," which, being interpreted 
into Scottish, means the "poli- 
cies " : there to make acquaint- 
ance with the " headmen " who 
are severally responsible for 
their respective departments, 



cattle, horses, and products 
this latter term including 
oranges, bananas, coffee, kola, 
&c. In the yard stand two 
splendid Hereford bulls with 
William Llewelyn beside them 
a gaunt old negro with as 
keen an eye and as wise a 
tongue as you could wish to 
meet. He is there " to tell 
massa 'marning,'" and to say 
that he is getting his herd of 
fifty heifers in from the pas- 
tures to be inspected. William 
Brown is there, the finest rider 
on the estate with all his sixty 
years, tending a mule that has 
hurt itself : before long he will 
have a drove of eighty mules 
gathered from far and near to 
show the condition of his de- 
partment. A few more intro- 
ductions, and all the formali- 
ties are over for the present. 
Henceforth life is to be one 
long round of uninterrupted 
rural simplicity, spent amongst 
the tropical glories of Western 
Jamaica. One of the annual 
events on the property is the 
branding of the yearling mules : 
it took place about seven o'clock 
one morning in a small pen sur- 
rounded by high stone walls, to 
prevent the recalcitrant from 
following the example of the 
late Kemus. There were some 
nineteen mules to be branded, 
and about ten men engaged 
in the operation. This con- 
sists in selecting one mule out 
of the drove, which huddles as 
a rule near the gate of en- 
trance, and making it gallop 
round the ring at a pretty 
smart pace. Once it is fairly 
going the lasso is thrown, and 
the unerring noose is soon 
fast round the animal's neck. 



308 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



[Feb. 



Then the tussle begins, and it 
takes some four or five stal- 
wart niggers to drag him up 
to the post round which the 
rope has to be fastened. Such 
bucking, such tugging, such 
determined resistance to con- 
stitutional authority, is really 
worthy of all our amused ad- 
miration. At last the post is 
reached, and the rope is fast- 
ened to it; then another rope 
is thrown between the mule's 
hind - legs, and he is deftly 
cast upon his side and secured 
before he can kick. There- 
upon, striding from a fire 
built under the lee of one of 
the walls, comes the operator 
with his irons as hot as effi- 
ciency and safety will permit : 
one strong impression, a fizzle, 
a little smoke, a contortion 
from the patient, and all is 
over. Jeye's fluid is immedi- 
ately dabbed over the scar, 
the knots are loosened, the 
mule struggles up and trots 
happily out of the pen, marked 
with the year of his birth. It 
was most interesting to note 
the dexterity displayed in every 
move of this game, and the con- 
sequent rapidity with which the 
mules were branded ; as well as 
the consideration with which 
every mule was treated by all 
engaged in this painful but 
necessary operation. 

The calves were a far more 
docile lot to deal with, and 
under the shade of a spread- 
ing mango-tree some sixty or 
seventy were marked without 
much trouble. There was but 
one notable exception in the 
figure of a fine young calf by 
one of the Brahmin cattle out 
of a Hereford : he was not to be 



caught or stopped by the mere 
casting of a lasso. With a toss 
of his head he jerked the rope 
out of his would-be captor's 
hand, and breaking through the 
temporary fencing of bamboo 
poles round the pen, careered 
down the adjoining meadow to 
a stone wall at the bottom ; 
then, leaping this like an Irish 
hunter, he galloped full speed 
ahead up the mountain - side. 
A large detachment of men 
went after him barefoot and 
apace, taking the mother of 
the truant to beguile him back 
again. This process occupied 
the best part of two hours, 
and when triumphantly accom- 
plished, was succeeded by a 
precisely similar movement on 
the part of this wild little calf- 
devil. His pluck and his wiles 
had now raised the " dander " 
of all the men, who pursued 
him on horseback and on foot, 
wagering the while as to which 
would finally lasso him in the 
field outside the pen. Another 
couple of hours, and he reap- 
peared, weary, bedraggled, and 
breathless, at the tail of his 
domesticated dam; a ring was 
formed, excitement was at boil- 
ing-point, a shower of ropes 
dropped about the animal, once 
more at full gallop round the 
field, two of which encircled his 
neck. In a moment the disap- 
pointed competitors were hang- 
ing on to these ropes with all 
their might, and, even before 
the victim could be cast, the 
cunning old Llewelyn had 
branded him for life. 

In the Knockalva pastures 
there must be some five or six 
hundred head of cattle with 
the pure Hereford strain run- 



1899. 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



309 



ning strongly through the herd, 
and perhaps 150 first - class 
mules ; yet so hard are the 
times that neither class of 
animal fetches anything like 
the price of former years. 
Some planters are reducing 
their works, and are not buy- 
ing the same amount of work- 
ing stock as they used to ; 
others have thrown up their 
plantations altogether, and sold 
off to the butchers a second- 
class animal (their working 
stock) at a lower price than 
the pen -keeper can afford to 
do. ISTot only so, but ex- 
planters constantly turn pen- 
keepers themselves, and, by 
sending into the towns an in- 
ferior animal, seriously disturb 
the markets belonging prop- 
erly to a trade scarcely less 
important than their own. I 
do not write this to complain 
of the pen -keeping profession 
in Jamaica, for I believe that 
increased steamer facilities be- 
tween the West Indian Islands 
and the mainland will reveal 
a splendid group of markets 
to demand the supply from 
Jamaican cattle - breeders : I 
only desire to indicate how 
far-reaching the effects of the 
failure in the sugar industry 
may be. Yet with all this dis- 
tress in the air, I understand 
that large sums of money are to 
be spent in Kingston in convert- 
ing the mule-tramcars into elec- 
tric cars, thus throwing a large 
number of men out of work, and 
closing a good market for mules. 
But to the winds with such re- 
flections in holiday-time ! 

How quickly the days passed 
amongst all the novelties of 
tliis place ! Although we were 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



on horseback every day by 
seven o'clock, riding among 
the gangs of workers who 
clean the banana - plantations, 
pick the coffee, and pack the 
oranges, yet it seemed but a 
few minutes before the bell 
rang, its welcome sound being 
the work -clock of the neigh- 
bourhood, announcing the hour 
of breakfast. It was always 
a meal worthy of the appetites 
that awaited it, spread upon 
a carpet of brilliant flowers 
from the little garden outside 
the house, and helped by clus- 
ters of white orchids, which 
grow in profusion on every 
roadside tree. Not a great deal 
in the way of meat, mercifully 
generally a duck or a first-rate 
steak; and then a wealth of 
vegetables, such as roast yams, 
fried plantain, bread-fruit, and 
pear, to supply all the nutri- 
ment that is pleasant in the 
hot weather ; followed by mel- 
ons, pines, oranges, and ban- 
anas, such as Covent Garden 
rarely sees, and a demi-tasse 
of black coffee, which is a 
veritable revelation. For drink, 
recollecting that Kobert Louis 
Stevenson so frequently men- 
tioned "claret and a slice 
of pine-apple" in the Vailima 
Letters, we occasionally in- 
dulged in that ; but generally 
it was Scottish whisky with 
mineral waters and a large 
supply of ice, though shandi- 
gaff, and even gin, came occa- 
sionally before our thirsty notice. 
(Dear 'Maga,' pardon this gas- 
tronomic interlude, which is not, 
I confess, of as general interest 
as its factors were essential to 
our diurnal contentment.) 
After luncheon let me admit 



310 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



[Feb. 



to a regular irregularity in 
Jamaican life namely, a mid- 
day siesta ; and let me notice at 
the same time the difference in 
habit between the workers in 
Southern Europe and in these 
tropical parts. For although the 
sun beats far less fiercely in the 
former regions, yet work is 
generally slack towards noon, 
and an after-dinner sleep is the 
rule. We have all noticed that 
in Italy and Spain. But in 
Jamaica, as soon as the work- 
man's dinner is done, it lasts 
generally from 11 to 11.30, he 
goes on cheerfully with his work 
till five in the evening, when 
the same bell bids him leave off 
for the day. 

Included in the Knockalva 
property are two other estates, 
named Bogue and Retrieve. 
The former is close to Montego 
Bay, and consists of about 
seventeen islands in the sea, 
where some excellent shooting 
is to be had in winter -time. 
From thesa islands the property 
stretches up to the hills inland, 
and abounds in logwood, which 
is now being carefully culti- 
vated, as there is a considerable 
demand for it. To see a forest 
of logwood in proper trim is a 
very pretty sight, for the 
silver-grey trunk of a good 
tree looks like several birch- 
trees bound together, spreading 
at no great height into branches 
bearing beautiful cool green 
leaves, not unlike the English 
thorn. The trees must not be 
close together, and the grass 
beneath is rich both in colour 
and in nutriment, bush and 
weed being conspicuously absent. 



One can often see far into these 
deep quiet forest sin consequence; 
and the effect is sometimes 
heightened by the herds of 
cattle that pasture in their 
shade, or stand to drink at 
some pool that glistens, and 
diminishes, in the sun. 

Retrieve is a different sort 
of property, situated on the 
heights overlooking Lucia (pro- 
nounced Lucie), where the cul- 
tivations of logwood, cattle, and 
pimento are all equally under- 
taken. It is hard to realise at 
this distance from the scene 1 
that one was driving but a week 
agone along the sea -shore, in 
groves of cocoanuts, for miles 
at a time, the deep dark -blue 
of the sea in lovely contrast to 
the graceful green trees that 
fringe its coast ; now passing 
vast fields of sugar-cane, whose 
purple - feathered tops pro- 
claimed that the time of har- 
vest was near ; now under great 
tree-ferns that vary the mon- 
otony of high hedges of sensitive 
plant ; accompanied everywhere 
by gay butterflies and humming- 
birds. And amid all this natural 
profusion live the negroes in their 
little log -huts, or, if in hum- 
bler circumstances, in bothies 
built of leaves and grass. They 
all seemed to be busy with 
something or another. At the 
doors women were sewing or 
men were cobbling; here, a 
little darkey girl combing out 
her sister's hair under a great 
Poinsettia-tree, whose red leaves 
burned brilliant in the sun; 
there, little picaninnies in a 
state of nature chasing chickens 
and pigs ; now, where a stream 



1 Written during a snowstorm in New York. 



1899. 



Jamaica : An Impression. 



311 



crosses the road, groups of girls 
washing linen with their sleeves 
rolled up well over their elbows, 
and their skirts well up to their 
knees ; and all along the road 
we passed men driving cattle 
or mule-trains laden with pro- 
duce to the nearest market. 
From each and all we were 
certain of a " Marnin', massa " ; 
to which my brother (who is 
sub-agent at Knockalva) would 
always answer, "How you 
do, missis?" and received the 
unvarying reply, "So so, tank 
massa," which is the most re- 
assuring account that a negro 
ever gives of his health. 

Would that there were time 
to tell of the many amusing 
things that the natives said to 
me, their phrases and their pro- 
verbs, of the old-time retainers 
who once were slaves and still 
oall a blessing as he passes upon 
" my owner " ; of the great 



" Howdy e," when all the black 
residents and employees of 
Knockalva marched up in their 
hundreds with bands and ban- 
ners to bid me welcome to 
Jamaica. And I wish I could 
describe in fitting language the 
harvest festival, with its dec- 
orations of palms, peppers, jam, 
pickles, loaves on the altar, and 
a coopful of hens at the vestry 
door. But all these things, un- 
printed, remain as abiding mem- 
ories. Many a foggy winter's 
night will pass uncursed, and 
many an hour of Scottish esti- 
mates will pass unnoticed, if, in 
a true spirit of self-detachment, 
I can transport my mind back 
to those warm evenings at 
Knockalva, when, after busy 
days, we sat, Maurice and I, 
under the old brown verandah, 
and, amid a firmament of fire- 
flies, talked of home. 

IAN MALCOLM. 



312 



A Birthday Letter of Apology. 



[Feb. 



A BIRTHDAY LETTER, OF APOLOGY. 



THE HILL BUNGALOW, KLEDANG, 
PERAK, Nov. 20, 1898. 

DEAK ' MAGA,' - - Yesterday 
your letter was brought up 
here in "ladies' fingers." It is 
true that these were in a cook's 
basket with other green food, 
not to mention eggs and a 
chicken still the omen was a 
happy one, and presaged the 
good news. So your thou- 
sandth birthday is next Feb- 
ruary. What can I do with 
the year's end coming, here 
perched alone upon a mountain 
like Don Quixote in his shirt, 
and not a Chinaman or Malay 
within reach, except Ah Tung 
the caretaker and Haji Mat the 
gardener, of whom I know 
nothing worth relating? In- 
vent I cannot, to plagiarise I 
am ashamed. 

Oh, I can't find anything to 
write about in this dull place. 
For what does ' Maga ' want to 
hear about but men and women ? 
and to what will she turn a 
deafer ear than to the "trite 
tropics " style of word-painting, 
with its dazzling sunshine, its 
impenetrable forests, its bird of 
gorgeous plumage on every 
bough? Who wants to read 
about a country farm, an ice- 
field, a semi-detached suburban 
residence? What is the good 
of forcing upon an indifferent 
world the little affairs of a 
tea-planter, or an invalid in the 
Canaries, or a Bishop in his 
diocese? What is life on a 
ranche in a mine in a bank 
in a balloon to people out 
of the trade? 

It poured as we came up yes- 



terday. By the way, you will 
be glad to hear that I am not 
all alone : there is another per- 
son. Thankful indeed were we 
when the last turn of the 
crooked six-foot path brought 
us in sight of the little com- 
pound on the ridge, with the 
zinc - roofed bungalow in the 
centre. Our coolies, Klings 
from Madras, and Chinese, 
must have been equally pleased ; 
and they did not fail to ask for 
something extra on account of 
the weather. The Chinese 
boldly took their dollar a-head, 
and urgently demanded cents 
for spirits, grinned and marched 
off. The Klings accepted their 
half-dollar, acquiescing in the 
humiliating fact of being only 
half value ; then lingered shiv- 
ering obtrusively, smiling entic- 
ingly, deprecatingly ; twiddled 
their toes, and slipped away. 
The tin roof was deafening with 
the drumming of the rain ; and 
we watered the house as we 
moved about and sadly gazed 
upon the puddle that had been 
bread. 

This house has no fireplace, 
except of course the cooking- 
range in the outhouse behind. 
That is a pity, for two reasons : 
first, because, unlike the weather 
in the valley, it often rains here 
in the morning as well as after- 
noons, and you want some- 
where to dry your clothes at ; 
and second, because the plea- 
sure of feeling uncomfortably 
and unusually cold is marred 
by the absence of a wood fire 
where you could warm your 
toes and roast jack-fruit seeds- 



1899.] 



A Birthday Letter of Apology. 



313 



(something like Spanish chest- 
nuts if flavoured with imagina- 
tion), declaring it is just like 
Home. Still, to be able honest- 
ly and truthfully to shiver is a 
great deal. 

The house, which is of wood, 
is raised on posts a few feet 
above the ground. A broad 
verandah runs along its whole 
frontage, and the bedrooms 
open upon the verandah. The 
verandah is closed in with 
panes of glass all round, which 
is also a delightful novelty. 
When the lamps are lighted 
and the wind comes drenched 
with rain and beats against 
these panes, and shakes the 
window - frames and whistles 
through the chinks, then you 
may shut your eyes and sneeze, 
and dream of an English night 
in November. The gusts fly 
down sobbing through the wet 
tree-tops, and in the lulls clouds 
of dense white mist press close 
against the windows. " Oh the 
poor sailors ! " says the other 
person involuntarily. But all 
the while our friends in the 
valley are blessing it for a 
cooler, fresher night. 

The porch in front of the 
house is hung with creeping 
boughs of honeysuckle, covered 
with perennial blossom, and 
always throwing out long ten- 
drils which grapple in vain 
with the smooth surface of the 
corrugated roof. But honey- 
suckle grows over our orchid- 
houses in the valley, so here, 
though good, it is not the best. 
Roses big, loose, pink roses 
grow in great bushes on both 
sides of the porch, a mass of 
colour that never fades. You 
may strip the bushes to-day, 
and load every finger-glass and 



tumbler you can find, but before 
these flowers are withered the 
place of them is rosy with their 
sisters. And then there are 
white dwarf roses lower down. 
Here we are only 3000 feet 
above sea-level : another 1500 
feet will bring you to the zone 
of white and purple violets. 

The terraced garden falls 
steeply away below us. With 
the roses are other plants, 
lovely in their way, but tropical, 
and therefore half repugnant to 
the European spirit of the hour. 
Gardenias, which shine like 
stars from out their dark-green 
foliage, are importunate of per- 
fume. Oh that I could sell 
them for button-holes at six- 
pence apiece ! Then there are 
huge shrubs aflame with flowers 
like hollyhocks. We call them 
the shoe-flower, because, when 
your boy has finished the black- 
ing for your brown shoes, as 
an alternative to cleaning and 
ruining them with lemon, he 
brings them to an equally ill- 
gotten lustre by rubbing them 
with these red flowers. Lower 
down there are magenta sprays 
of bougainvillea, and a wonder- 
ful creeper with huge golden 
bells, which, just because it 
loves to break loose and climb 
squirrel - fashion among the 
branches, therefore Haji Mat 
must, after his kind, crib into 
a sort of geni's-bottle frame- 
work of sticks, daily cutting off 
its head to keep it in its place. 

Is it merely a matter of as- 
sociated memories, or are the 
names we give to flowers singu- 
larly suited to them ? Could 
Cowslip, Ragged Robin, or 
Primrose belong to any other 
than plants born to live in cool 
damp fields and hedgerows ? 



314 



A Birthday Letter of Apology. 



[Feb. 



And so with the names of these 
flowers of the East, they seem 
to glow like the flowers them- 
selves or the skies above them : 
Bougainvillea, Flame of the 
Forest, Hibiscus, Alamander. 
The last only lacks an S to 
prove my theory conclusively. 
This morning by unparalleled 
exertions we were up by five 
o'clock, and had walked as far 
as the trigonometrical station, a 
sort of gigantic beehive thatched 
with palms on the tip -top of 
the mountain. The ground has 
been cleared over an acre of 
all but bracken, and gives an 
uninterrupted view of the two 
great mountain-ranges to East 
and West; ours being but a 
stepping - stone between the 
Kinta valley we live in to the 
east, and the empty Western 
valley with its grey waste of 
tree -tops, and reaches of the 
Silver River shining ten miles 
away. Over these there hangs 
a perfect rainbow in a perfect 
semicircle, beginning and end- 
ing in the clouds high above 
the faint blue distances. The 
Kinta valley lies between us 
and the dawn. It has been 
bearing half the world's output 
of tin for several years, and its 
smooth denuded surface is pitted 
with flooded mine-holes. There 
is also an artificial Serpentine to 
irrigate the rice-fields, and loops 
of the winding river are visible. 
All these patches of water are 
as silver in the dark-blue haze 
with a pink flush round their 
margins, when the grey clouds 
overhead turn quickly to rose- 
madder. Away south the sea 
lies narrow as a ribbon ; and 
where the Eastern range de- 
scends abruptly towards the 
coast its base is washed by a 



mist of brilliant whiteness. 
There, from behind the last 
steel-blue buttress of the moun- 
tains, we saw a sudden ray 
thrust like a spear across the 
silver level : brighter than cro- 
cuses in snow the sun had risen. 
And then the mist that ebbs 
and flows about our own hill- 
side came rolling up through 
the tree-tops like a mirage of 
the flood-tide among the rocks, 
leaving us stranded on an islet 
in grey ocean, in unutterable 
solitude. 

Have you ever had the desire 
to be for once so isolated and 
untrammelled as to be able to 
shout and sing your loudest 
and none to hear? It is best 
for dignity, I find, to make sure 
the isolation is real before gra- 
tifying this harmless fancy- 
which we did not. Out of the 
encircling gloom came a patter- 
ing of naked footsteps and an- 
swering cries of assistance. We 
saw the shadowy forms of the 
coolies who keep up the bridle- 
path, and fled from our gallant 
rescuers. The glory had de- 
parted : breakfast-time was at 
hand. 

After breakfast there are 
many things to while away the 
time, early lunch, lunch, tea, 
late tea, and finally dinner, for 
the mountain air is appetising. 
In the intervals you can smoke 
cigarettes and sit about listen- 
ing to the orchestra of the 
jungle. From a dozen direc- 
tions in the greenwood sea 
below there floats a sound most 
strange, most musical. ISTow it 
is the deepest resonant note 
of an organ ; now a repetition 
of high clear whoops ; then it 
is the two sounds alternating 
rapidly ; then bursting sud- 



1899. 



A Birthday Letter of Apology. 



315 



denly into a wild triumphant 
Yo yo yo yo ! something like the 
chorus of hounds in full cry. 
That is the jodel of the Siamang. 
Do you care for monkeys? 
Personally, I know two kinds 
only, and detest them both 
the Brok and the Kra. The 
Brok is a big, brown, fatuous 
baboon, of the familiar low- 
comedy pattern, for ever sput- 
tering and scratching himself, 
and fidgeting with hands and 
feet and making faces. Should 
you desire to please him, you 
will squat (just beyond the 
length of his chain) in front of 
him, and similarly scratch your 
person, make faces, and sputter. 
Then in high good-humour he 
will amble round his post in as 
big a circle as his chain permits, 
clutching at your hair with an 
adroit high kick as he passes. 

O X 

Such are his low delights. The 
Kra is a small grey person of 
passionate appearance, with 
close - set fiery eyes, very like 
my friend Brands, who keeps 
one. The tastes of this little 
fiend are still more primitive 
namely, to fly straight at you 
with his tail sticking out and 
his crest sticking up, and bite 
you again and again: he is 
worse than Brok. 

Far different is the gentle 
Siamang ; but then he is a 
gibbon, and no monkey. In 
assemblies on the tree-tops live 
the Siamang, whooping through 
the octaves, calling to their 
friends from miles away, and 
swooping off to meet them, 
racing steeplechases with the 
winds. I have seen, and hope 
to live and see again, a pack of 
the Siamang going through the 
jungle a long black arm and 
a small crumpled body swing- 



ing wildly from it like a pendu- 
lum run mad, then a suicidal 
fling, a crash in the covering 
green, and so they are gone. 

Tame, they are the gentlest 
creatures. The Malays catch 
young ones and bring them to 
our doors, knowing that buy 
we must. It is not among the 
possibilities for a Mem to resist 
the forlorn small speechless 
thing, when it winds its long 
long arms and fingers round 
her neck, and hides its black 
wrinked face of an old woman, 
with round unhappy eyes, in 
the softness of her morning 
gown. Or it lurches across 
the verandah on a pair of very 
bandy little legs, balancing 
itself with outstretched arms. 
But they always die. They 
who have weathered torrential 
rains under the open heaven 
die in captivity of consumption, 
and cough out their ill-compre- 
hended souls like .Christians, 
huddled in a blanket. 

All day long the Siamang 
are calling, omnipresent though 
invisible. The Malays firmly 
believe that the utan rimba, 
the heavy jungle, is inhabited 
by a Folk Whose Voice We 
Hear, a race of audible though 
unseen fairies ; and I too am 
of the faith, because the more 
you sit quiet and watch with 
eyes and ears, the more surely 
you will know that the great 
precept of the rimba (very 
different from what we are 
taught in the nursery) is this : 
Little beasts should be heard 
but not seen. There are shady 
paths all about the bungalow, 
where you can sit all day with- 
out fear of sunstroke. If you 
care to do so, perhaps once in 
a moon you may become aware 



316 



A Birthday Letter of Apology. 



[Feb. 



of a Kijang deer suddenly 
materialised on the path be- 
side you, who will gaze for a 
moment with untroubled eyes, 
and then vanish through the 
underwood in a streak of dim- 
inishing crashes. ^ Or a little 
frog may go by with frantic 
leaps, hard followed by a little 
snake. You will be lucky if 
you see even so much, although 
if the monstrous wizard Sang 
Klembai were to pass and pluck 
up the utan rimba (as he could) 
by its roots as we pluck moss 
from a tree, it would be mar- 
vellous how dense a population 
were left naked and ashamed : 
tiger, black panther, rhinoceros, 
wild cattle, sambhur, mouse- 
deer, sloth, tapir, porcupine, 
pig, elephant, by their foot- 
prints they are known. 

But at nightfall : there is 
a legend (my own invention) 
which tells that whosoever has 
by means of any sound of music 
brought death or madness upon 
his neighbour, he, when his 
time is come, is transported to 
these wildernesses to work out 
his redemption for a hundred 
years. And first, half a street's 
length down the hillside, the old 
blind beggar with the pipes 
breaks into sudden lament 
among the unbending trees. 
Does he know that his skirl is 
heard by human ears and take 
comfort ? " Milk, milk," cries a 
despairing voice at our elbow, 
and is sped. Then the child 
with the Jew's-harp that such 
a feeble thing should be so tor- 
mented ! goes twanging and 
sobbing by, not three yards be- 
hind the green -black curtain. 
The proprietors of the steam 



merry-go-round and of the buz- 
zer from the steelworks are set 
to their penance on ranges be- 
yond the gully, and the sound 
"by distance tame," like the 
strains of that music which 
heralded Roderick Dhu, comes 
mellowed across the mountain. 

Suddenly underneath our 
rustic seat the threshing- 
machine begins to burr. It is 
too near, too loud : the vibra- 
tion jars painfully upon the ear. 
Then by the potency of that 
magic droning a spell is cast 
upon me. The tropic night is 
transfigured, the screen of black 
foliage withdrawn. Lo, it is 
the corner of a field on a win- 
ter's afternoon. Grass wet with 
rain grows between the lines of 
stubble over loose red clods. 
There are round ricks and heavy 
farm hands, and a threshing- 
machine champing corn. There 
is a bank and hedge with the 
blackberry leaves only half 
faded. The air is cool, with 
faint sunshine and a white haze. 
It is Devon, with the smell of 
her and the stillness of her 
patiently expectant of the 
spring. Then, quick as it arose, 
the sound ceases and the vision 
is gone. It was only a cicada, 
a little green cicada, careless of 
us and Devon and aU the 
world, and he makes his music 
by scratching his head with his 
foot. This he does, so natural- 
ists aver, to please his wife. 
What an example to us all ! 

While we are moving dinner- 
wards there comes faintly from 
afar the snarl of a great cat 
hungry. It is " master stripes," 
his grace before meat. 

EDWARD A. IRVING. 



1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



317 



MADONNA OF THE PEACH-TREE. 1 



BY MAURICE HEWLETT. 



I. VANNA IS BID FOB. 



NOT easily would you have 
found a girl more winning in 
a tender sort than Giovanna 
Scarpa of Verona at one-and- 
twenty, fair-haired and flushed, 
delicately shaped, tall and pli- 
ant, as she then was. She had 
to suffer her hours of ill report, 
but passes for near a saint now, 
in consequence of certain mir- 
acles and theophanies done on 
her account, which it is my busi- 
ness to declare : before those she 
was considered (if at all) as a 
girl who would certainly have 
been married three years ago if 
dowries had not been of moment 
in the matter. In a city of 
maids as pretty as they are 
modest which no one will deny 
Verona to be there may have 
been some whose charms in 
either kind were equal to hers, 
while their estate was better in 
accord ; but the speculation is 
idle. Giovanna, flower in the 
face as she was, fit to be nose- 
gay on any hearth, posy for any 
man's breast, sprang in a very 
lowly soil. Like a blossoming 
reed she shot up to her inches 
by Adige, and one forgot the 
muddy bed wondering at the 
slim grace of the shaft with its 
crown of yellow atop. Her hair 
waved about her like a flag, 
she should have been planted 
in a castle ; instead, Giovanna 
the stately calm, with her bil- 
lowing line, staid lips, and can- 
did grey eyes, was to be seen on 



her knees by the green water 
most days of the week. Bare- 
armed, splashed to the neck, 
bare-headed, out -at -heels, she 
rinsed and pommelled, wrung 
and dipped again, laughed, chat- 
tered, flung her hair to the wind, 
her sweat to the water, in line 
with a dozen other women be- 
low the Ponte Navi ; and if no 
one thought any the worse of 
her, none, unhappily, thought 
any the better at least in the 
way of marriage. It is probable 
that no one thought of her at 
all. Giovanna was a beauty 
and a very good girl ; but she 
was a washerwoman for all that, 
whose toil fed seven mouths. 

Her father was Don Urbano, 
curate of Santa Toscana across 
the water. This may very easily 
sound worse than it is. In Don 
Urbano's day, though a priest 
might not marry, he might have 
a wife a faithful, diligent com- 
panion, that is to seethe his 
polenta, air his linen, and rear 
his children. The Church 
winked at her, and so continued 
until the Jesuits came to teach 
that winking was unbecoming. 
But when Can Grande II. lorded 
in Verona the Jesuits did not, 
and Don Urbano, good easy 
man, cared not who winked at 
his wife. She gave him six 
children before she died of the 
seventh, of whom the eldest was 
Giovanna, and the others, in an 
orderly chain diminishing punc- 



Copyright in the United States of America. 



318 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



tually by a year, ran down to 
Ferrantino, a tattered, shock- 
headed rascal of more inches 
than grace. Last of all the 
good drudge, who had borne 
these and many other bur- 
dens for her master, died also. 
Don Urbano was never tired of 
saying how providential it was 
that she had held off her demise 
until Giovanna was old enough 
to take her place. The curate 
was fat and lazy, very much in- 
terested in himself ; his stipend 
barely paid his shot at the 
" Fiore del Marina jo," under 
whose green bush he was mostly 
to be seen. Vanna had to roll 
up her sleeves, bend her straight 
young back, and knee the board 
by the Ponte Navi. I have no 
doubt it did her good the work 
is healthy, the air, the sun, the 
water-spray, kissed her beauty 
ripe ; but she got no husband 
because she could save no dowry. 
Everything went to stay the 
seven crying mouths. 

Then, on a day when half her 
twenty-first year had run after 
the others, old Baldassare Dar- 
dicozzo stayed on the bridge to 
rest from the burden of his pack 
on a breezy March morning 
when the dust filled his eyes and 
the wind emptied him of breath. 
Baldassare had little enough to 
spare as it was. So he dropped 
his load in the angle of the 
bridge, with a smothered "Ac- 
cidente ! " or some such, and 
leaned to watch the swollen 
water buffeted crosswise by the 
gusts, or how the little mills 
amid -stream dipped as they 
swam breasting the waves. In 
so doing he became aware, in 
quite a peculiar way, of Vanna 
Scarpa. 

Baldassare was old, red-eyed, 



stiff in the back. Possibly he 
was rheumatic, certainly he was 
grumpy. He had a long slit 
mouth which played him a cruel 
trick ; for by nature it smiled 
when by nature he was most 
melancholy. Smile it would and 
did, however cut-throat he felt : 
if you wanted to see him grin 
from ear to ear you would wait 
till he had had an ill day's mar- 
ket. Then, while sighs, curses, 
invocations of the saints, or open 
hints to the devil came roaring 
from him, that hilarious mouth 
of his invited you to share de- 
lights. You had needs laugh 
with him, and he, cursing high 
and low, beamed all over his 
face. " To make Baldassare 
laugh " became a stock peri- 
phrasis for the supreme degree 
of tragedy among his neigh- 
bours. About this traitor mouth 
of his he had a dew of scrubby 
beard, silvered black ; he had 
bushy eyebrows, hands and arms 
covered with a black pelt : he 
was a very hairy man. Also he 
was a very warm man, as every- 
body knew, with a hoard of 
florins under the flags of his old- 
clothes shop in the Via Stella. 

Having spat into the water 
many times, rubbed his hands, 
mopped his head, and cursed 
most things under heaven and 
some in it, Master Baldassare 
found himself watching the 
laundresses on the shore. They 
were the usual shrill, shrewd, 
and laughing line the trade 
seems to induce high mirth 
and as such no bait for the old 
merchant by ordinary ; but just 
now the sun and breeze together 
made a bright patch of them, 
set them at a provoking flutter. 
Baldassare, prickly with dust, 
found them like their own cool 



1899. 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



319 



linen hung out to dance itself 
dry in the wind. Most of all 
he noticed Vanna, whom he 
knew well enough, because 
when she knelt upright she 
was taller and more way- 
ward than the rest, and be- 
cause the wind made so plain 
the pretty figure she had. She 
was very industrious, but no 
less full of talk: there seemed 
so much to say! The pauses 
were frequent in which she 
straightened herself from the 
hips and turned to thrust chin 
and voice into the debate. You 
saw then the sharp angle and 
fine line of light along that raised 
chin, the charming turn of the 
neck, her free young shoulders 
and shapely head ; also you 
heard her lively tones of ci and 
sa, and saw how her shaking 
finger drove them home. The 
wind would catch her yellow 
hair sometimes and wind it 
across her bosom like a scarf ; 
or it streamed sideways like a 
long pennon ; or being caught 
by a gust from below, sprayed 
out like a cloud of litten gold. 
Vanna always joined in the 
laugh at her mishap, tossed her 
tresses back, pinned them up 
(both hands at the business) ; 
and then, with square shoulders 
and elbows stiff as rods, set to 
working the dirt out of Don 
Urbano's surplice. Baldassare 
brooded, chewing straws. What 
a clear colour that girl had, to 
be sure ! What a lissom rascal 
it was ! A fine long girl like 
that should be married ; by all 
accounts she would make a man 
a good wife. If he were a dozen 
years the better of four-and-fifty 
he might Then came a 

shrug, and a " Ma ! " to conclude 
in true Veronese Baldassare's 



ruminations. Shrug and explo- 
sion signalled two stark facts : 
Baldassare was fifty-four, and 
Vanna had no portion. 

Yet he remained watching on 
the bridge, his chin buried in 
his knotty hands, his little eyes 
blinking under stress of the 
inner fire he had. So it befell 
that La Testolina saw him, and 
said something shrill and saucy 
to her neighbour. The wind 
tossed him the tone but not the 
sense. He saw the joke run 
crackling down the line, all 
heads look brightly up. The 
joke caught fire ; he saw the 
sun-gleam on a dozen perfect 
sets of teeth. Vanna's head 
was up with the rest, sooner up 
and the sooner down. Even 
from that height the little twink- 
ling beacons from the bridge 
shot her through. He saw her 
colour deepen, head droop : she 
was busy long before the others 
had wrung their joke dry. 
" Soul of a cat ! " grunted Bal- 
dassare between his teeth, " what 
a rosy baggage it is ! " He 
waited a little longer, then de- 
liberately passed the bridge, 
rounded the pillar by the steps, 
and went down to the women 
like a man who had made up 
his mind. Lisabetta of the 
roving eye caught the first hint 
of his shadow. Her elbow to 
Nonna's ribs, Nonna's " Pst ! " 
in Nina's ear, spread the news. 
Vanna's cheeks flew the flag. 

"Buon' giorno, Ser Baldas- 
sare ! " shrilled La Testolina, 
plump and black-eyed leader of 
mischief. 

"Giorno, giorno, La Testo- 
lina," growled the old man. 

Vanna, very busy, grew as 
red as a rose. The others knelt 
back on their heels ; compli- 



320 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



ments of a homely sort flew 
about, sped on by flashing 
teeth. Baldassare's own were 
black as old channel-posts in 
the Lagoon, but in tongue- 
work he gave as sharp as he 
got. Then a wicked wind blew 
Vanna's hair like a whip across 
her throat, fit to strangle her. 
She had to face the day. Bal- 
dassare pondered her straight 
young back. 

" When Vanna's a nun she'll 
have no more trouble with her 
hair," quoth La Testolina, 
matchmaker by race. 

"When Vanna's a nun the 
river will be dry," said Vanna 
from between her elbows. 

" When Vanna's a nun the 
river, on the contrary, will be in 
flood." This from Baldassare. 

"Hey! what's this?" Caterina 
cried; and Nonna pinched her 
arm. 

"Adige will go crying that 
she comes no more to dip her 
arms," said the old man, with 
the utmost gravity and a broad 
grin. The women pealed their 
delight, slapped their knees, 
or raised witnessing hands to 
heaven: La Testolina caught 
Vanna round the waist, and 
gave her a resounding kiss. 

" Compliments, my little Van- 
na, compliments ! " Her voice 
was a braying trumpet. 

"Vi ringrazio, signore," said 
Vanna under her breath, and 
La Testolina held up a tress of 
her long hair to the light. 

"When Vanna's a nun you 
would bid for that, eh, Bal- 
dassare ? " 

" I will bid for whatever 
she will sell me," says he, 
with a blink. Whereupon the 
matchmaker made no more 



music. The scent was too hot 
for that. 

Yet for all his adventuring 
he got little reward : she turned 
him no more than the round of 
her cheek. Vanna never stayed 
her work, and he, ordinarily a 
silent man, paid no more com- 
pliments yet ceased not to look. 

Going up the street at dinner- 
time, he made his bid. He 
limped by the tall girl's side 
without speech from either ; 
but at the door he looked up 
queerly at her and pinched her 
ear. 

" Go in and feed the young- 
sters, my chuck," said he ; "I 
know where to meet Don 
Urbano, and please Madonna 
you shall feed your own before 
long." 

"Yes, Ser Baldassare," says 
pretty Vanna in a twitter. 

The conference between the 
high contracting parties was 
wordy, bristled with the gestic- 
ulations of two pair of hands, 
and was commented on by all 
the guests in the "Fiore del 
Marina jo." The girl, said Don 
Urbano, was the very pride of 
his eye, prop of his failing years, 
a little mother to the children. 
She had had a most pious 
bringing-up, never missed the 
Rosary, knew the Little Hours 
of the Virgin, could do sums 
with notches in a stick, market 
like a Jew's housekeeper, sew 
like a nun, and make a stew 
against any wife in the con- 
trada. Dowry, dowry ! What 
did such a girl as that want 
with a dowry ? She was her 
own dowry, by Bacchus the 
Thracian. Look at the shape 
of her was that not a dowry ? 
The work she could do, the pair 



1899. 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



321 



of shoulders, the deep chest, the 
long legs she had pick your 
dowry there, my friends ! A 
young woman of her sort carried 
her dowry on her back, in her 
two hands, in her mouth ah ! 
and in what she could put into 
yours, by our Lord. Rather, 
it should be the other way. 
What, now, was Ser Baldassare 
prepared to lay out upon such 
a piece of goods? Baldassare 
shivered, grinned fearfully, and 
shook his head many times. 
Money was money ; it was 
limited ; it bore its value in 
plain figures upon its face : 
you knew where you were with 
money. But you could get 
wives cheaper than ducats, and 
find them cheaper value, soul of 
a cat ! Besides, what was he ? 
A poor pedlar, by his faith ! 
At this he spread out his 
arms and dropped them with a 
flop upon his knees. The priest 
sat back in his chair and cast 
appealing looks at the rafters ; 
the company chuckled, nudged 
each other, guffawed. Baldas- 
sare was made to feel that he 
had over - coloured his case. 
True, he admitted, he had a 
roof over his head, shared for- 
tune with the rats in that. 
But look at the thing reason- 
ably, comrades. Vanna would 
make another to keep; a girl 
of her inches must be an eater, 
body of a dog ! Had his rever- 
ence thought of that? His 
reverence made a supreme 
effort ; held up one pudgy fore- 
finger, and with the other 
marked off two joints of it. 
"Of mortadella so much," he 
said; "of polenta so much "- 
and he shut his fist ; " of pasta 
so much " and he coupled the 



two fists ; " and of wine, by the 
soul of the world, not enough 
to drown a flea ! I tell you, 
Baldassare," he said finally, 
emboldened by the merchant's 
growing doubt "I tell you 
that you ask of me a treasure 
which I would not part with 
for a cardinal's hat. No in- 
deed ! Not to be Bishop of 
Verona, throned and purpled 
on Can Grande's right hand, 
will I consent to traffic my 
Vanna. Eh, sangue di sangue, 
because I am a man of the 
Church must I cease to be a 
man of bowels, to have a yearn- 
ing, a tender spot here ? " He 
prodded his , cushioned ribs. 
" Go you, Ser Baldassare Dardi- 
cozzo," he cried, rising grandly 
in his chair "go you ; you 
have mistaken your man. The 
father flies superbly out of the 
curate's cassock, and points 
the door to the chafferer of 
virgins ! " 

The tavern - room, on Don 
Urbano's side to a man, beat 
the tables with their glasses ;. 
Baldassare had to surrender at 
discretion. The bargain, finally 
struck, was written out by an 
obliging notary on the scoring- 
slate. In the name of the holy 
and undivided Trinity it was 
declared to all men living and 
to be born, that Baldassare 
Dardicozzo, merchant of Verona, 
was obliged to pay to the rev- 
erend father in God, Urbano, 
curate of Santa Toscana in the 
Borgo San Giorgio, the sum of 
sixty florins Veronese and two- 
barrels of wine of Val Pulicella, 
under condition that if within 
thirty days from those presents 
he did not lead in marriage 
Giovanna, daughter of the said 



322 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



reverend, he should be bound to 
pay the sum of one hundred 
and twenty florins Veronese, 
and four barrels of wine of Yal 
Pulicella. 

The notary executed a mon- 
strous flourish at the bottom 
a foliated cross rising out of 
steps. On the last step he 
wrote his own name, Bartolo 
de Thomasinis ; and then Bal- 
dassare, smiling as he should, 
but feeling as he should not, 
.stuck his seal upon the swim- 



ming wax, and made a cross 
with the stile like the founda- 
tions of a spider's web. 

The affair was thus conclud- 
ed : before the thirty days were 
up Vanna was taken to church 
by her father, and taken from 
it by her new master. Within 
a month she appeared at the 
doorway of Baldassare's little 
shop, very pretty, very sedate, 
quite the housewife to sit there 
sewing and singing to herself 
from grey dawn to grey dusk. 



II.TERTIUM QUID. 



A year passed, two years 
passed. Yanna was three-and- 
twenty, no more round but no 
less blooming in face and figure, 
still a reedy, golden-haired girl. 
But Baldassare was fifty-seven, 
and there was no sign of issue. 
The neighbours, who had nudged 
each other at one season, whose 
heads had wagged as their 
winks flew about, now accepted 
the sterile mating as of the 
order of things. Pretty Yanna, 
mother as she had been to her 
brothers and sisters, was to 
be a mother no more. There 
was talk of May and Decem- 
ber ; Baldassare was advised 
to lock up other treasure beside 
his florins ; some, indeed, of the 
opposite camp gave hints none 
too honest to the forlorn young 
wife. The Piazza Sant' Anas- 
tasia at the falling -in of the 
day, for instance. Thus they 
put it. All girls and what else 
was Yanna, a wife in name? 
walked there arm in arm. 
Others walked there also, she 
must know. By -and -by some 
pretty lad, an archer, perhaps, 



from the Palace, some roister- 
ing blade of a gentleman's 
lackey, a friar or twinkling 
monk out for a frolic, came 
along with an "Eh, la bel- 
lina ! " and then there was 
another arm at work. So, 
for one, whispered La Testo- 
lina, wagging a head full of 
confidence and mystery close 
to Yanna's as the girl sat 
working out the summer twi- 
light. The Yia Stella was 
narrow and gloomy. The tall 
houses nearly met in that 
close way. Looking up, you 
saw the two jagged edges of 
the eaves, like great tattered 
wings spread towards each 
other. When the green sky 
of evening deepened to blue, 
and blue grew violet, these 
shadowing wings were always 
in advance, more densely dark. 
There it was that Yanna 
worked incessantly, sewing 
seam after seam, patching, 
braiding, and fitting the pieces. 
By no chance at all did a 
hint of the sun fall about her ; 
yet she always sang softly to 



1899. 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



323 



herself, always wore her pretty 
fresh colours, and still showed 
the gold sheen in her yellow, 
hair. Her hair was put up 
now, pulled smoothly back 
over her temples ; she spoke 
in a low, sober, measured voice, 
and to La Tcstolina's sly sug- 
gestions responded with a little 
blush, a little shake of the 
head, and a very little sigh. 
"Ser Baldassare is good to 
me," she would say; "would 
you have me do him a wrong ? 
Last Friday he gave me a 
silver piece to spend in what- 
soever I chose. I bought a 
little holy-water stoup with a 
Gesulino upon it bowered in 
roses. On Sunday morning he 
patted my cheek and called 
me a good girl. To say noth- 
ing of the many times he has 
pinched my ear, all this was 
very kind, as you must see. 
With what do you ask me 
to reward him ? Fie ! " La 
Testolina snorted, and shrugged 
herself away. Vanna went on 
with her sewing and her little 
song : 

" Giovanottin, che te lie vai di fuora, 
Stattene allegro, e cosi vo' far io. 
Se ti trovassi qualche dama nuova, 
L'ha da saper che tua dama son io." 

So sang she, innocently enough, 
whose sweethearting went no 
farther than her artless lips. 
There was not a spice of mis- 
chief in the girl. What she 
had told La Testolina had been 
no more than the truth : Mas- 
ter Baldassare was good to 
her better than you would 
have believed possible in such 
a crabbed old stub of a man. 
He was more of a father to 
her than ever Don Urbano had 



been to anything save his own 
belly ; but it was incontestable 
that he was not father to any- 
thing else. That alone might 
have been a grievance for 
Vanna, but there is no evi- 
dence that it was. Baldas- 
sare was by nature gruff, by 
habit close-fisted : like all such 
men, the more he felt the 
deeper he hoarded the thought 
under his ribs. The most he 
would venture would be a hand 
on her hair, and a grunt when 
she did well; so sure as she 
looked up gratefully at him 
the old man drew off, with 
puckered brows and jaws 
working together. He may 
have been ashamed of his 
weakness ; it is dead certain 
that no one in Verona, least 
of all Vanna herself, suspected 
him of any affection for his 
young wife. Mostly he was 
silent ; thus she became silent 
too whenever he was in the 
house. This was against na- 
ture, for by ordinary her little 
songs bubbled from her like a 
bird's. But to see him so 
glum and staring within doors 
awed her : she set a finger to 
her lips as she felt the tune 
on her tongue, and went about 
her business mute. Baldassare 
would go abroad, stooping 
under his pack : she took her 
seat at the shop-door, threaded 
her needle, her fingers flew 
and her fancy with them. 
The spring of her music was 
touched, and all the neigh- 
bours grew to listen for the 
gentle cadences she made. 

So passed a year, so two 
years passed. Vanna was 
twenty - three, looking less, 
when along there came one 



324 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



morning a tall young friar, 
a Carmelite, by name Fra 
Battista, with a pair of brown 
dove's eyes in his smooth 
face. These he lifted towards 
Vanna's with an air so timid 
and so penetrating, so delicate 
and hardy at once, that when 
he was gone it was to leave 
her with the falter of a verse 
in her mouth, two hot cheeks, 
and a quicker heart. 

This Fra Battista, by birth 
a Bergamask, accredited to 
the convent at Verona by 
reason of his parts as a 
preacher, was tall and shapely, 
like a spoilt pretty boy to 
look at, leggy, and soft in 
the palm. His frock set off 
this petted appearance, it 
gave you the idea of a pina- 
fore on him. He did not 
look manly, was not manly 
by any means, and yet not 
so girlish but that you could 
doubt his sex. His eyes, 
which, as I say, were soft as 
a dove's pair, he was not fond 
of showing ; and this gave 
them the more searching ap- 
peal when he did. His mouth, 
full and fleshy in the lips, had 
a lovely curve. He kept it 
very demure, and, when he 
spoke, spoke softly. This was 
a young man born to be Lan- 
celot to some Guinevere or 
other ; and, to do him justice, 
he had had his share of ad- 
venture in that sort at an 
early age. He had learned 
more out of Ovid than from 
the Fathers of Divinity, you 
may believe. Very popular 
he was in whatsoever convent 
he harboured, as a preacher 
famous all over Lombardy and 
the March, in Bergamo, in 



Brescia, even as far as Mantua 
he had been heard of. The 
superior at Verona did his best 
to spoil him by endearment, 
flattery, and indulgence ; but 
this was difficult, since he had 
been spoilt already. 

He passed down the Via 
Stella morning and evening 
for a week. Morning and 
evening his eyes encountered 
Vanna's. The third evening 
he smiled at her, the fourth 
morning he saluted her; the 
fifth evening he stopped and 
slipped in a gentle word, the 
first evening of the second 
week he stopped again, and 
that night, La Testolina being 
by, there was quite a little 
conversation. 

La Testolina had black eyes, 
a trim figure, and a way of 
wriggling which showed these 
to advantage. Fra Battista's 
fame and the possibility of 
mischief set her flashing : she 
led the talk and found him 
apt ; it was not difficult to 
aim every word that it should 
go through and leave a dart 
in Vanna's timid breast. The 
girl was so artless, you could 
see her quiver, or feel her, at 
every shot. For instance, was 
his sanctity very much fatigued 
by yesterday's sermon? Eh, 
la bella predica! What in- 
vocations of the saints, what 
heart-groping, what Teachings 
after the better parts of women ! 
It was some comfort to know 
that a woman had a better 
part at all by the Saviour! 
for their handling by men gave 
no hint of it ! Let Fra Beato 
ah, pardon, Fra Battista she 
should have said send sonm 
such arrows into men's hides ! 






1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



325 



See them, for the gross-feeding, 
surly, spend-all, take-all knaves 
that they were ! One or two 
she might name if she had a 
mind ah ! one or two in this 
very city of Verona, in this 
very Street of the Star, who 
but there ! Vanna must go 
and hear the Frate's next ser- 
mon, she must indeed. And if 

she could take her old curm 

Pshutt ! What was she say- 
ing ? How she ran on ! She 
did indeed. Fra Battista, lean- 
ing against the lintel, kept his 
eyelids on the droop, seemed 
to find his toes of interest. 
But now and again he would 
look delicately up, and so sure 
as he did the brown eyes and 
the grey seemed to swim to- 
wards each other, to melt in 
a point, swirl in an eddy of 
the feelings in which Vanna 
found herself drowning, and 
found such death sweet. La 
Testolina still ran on, but now 
in a monologue. Fra Battista 
looked and longed, and Vanna 
looked again and thrilled. It 
grew quite dark; nothing of 
each other could they see and 



little know, until the friar put 
out his foot and found Vanna's. 
A tremor, beginning at her 
heart, ran down to her toes ; 
Battista felt the flutter of it 
and was assured. 

When he left her that night 
he kissed her cold hand, then 
La Testolina's, which he found 
by no means cold, and moved 
off leisurely towards the Piazza 
dell' Erbe. Neither woman spoke 
for a while : La Testolina was 
picking at her apron, Vanna 
sat quietly in the dark holding 
her heart. She was still in a 
tremble, so ridiculously moved 
that when her friend kissed her 
she burst out crying. La Tes- 
tolina went nodding away; and 
the end of the episode may be 
predicted. Not at one but at 
many sermons of the tall Car- 
melite did Vanna sit rapt ; not 
for one but for every dusk did 
he stoop to kiss her hand. All 
Verona saw her devotion, all 
Verona, that is, but one old 
Veronese. The essence of com- 
edy being that the spectators 
shall chuckle at actors in a fog, 
here was a comedy indeed. 



III. THE SEED OF DISCORD. 



When Vanna announced her 
condition the neighbours looked 
slyly at each other; when her 
condition announced Vanna, 
they chattered ; the gossip sank 
to whispering behind the hand 
as time went on, and ceased 
altogether when the baby was 
born. That was a signal for 
heads to shake. Some pitied 
the father, many defended the 
mother : it did not depend upon 
your sex ; sides were taken 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



freely and voices were shrill 
when neither was by. Down 
by the river especially, upon 
that bleached board below the 
bridge, ci and si whistled like 
the wind in the chimneys, and 
the hands of testimony were as 
the aspen leaves when storms 
are in. Some took one side, 
some another; but when, in 
due season, it was seen what 
inordinate pride Baldassare 
had in the black-eyed bambino 
Y 



326 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



there was no question of sides. 
He had ranked himself with 
the unforgivable party : the 
old man was an old fool, a 
gull whose power of swallow 
stirred disgust. Vanna had 
the rights of it, they said ; such 
men were made to be tricked. 
As for Fra Battista's pulpit, 
it was thronged about with 
upturned faces; for those who 
had not been before went now, 
to judge what they would have 
done under the circumstances. 
Having been, there were no 
two opinions about that. Mes- 
ser Gabriele Arcangelo, some 
said, judging by the honey- 
tongue; San Bastiano, others 
considered him, who went by 
his comely proportions ; and 
these gained the day, since his 
beardless face and friar's frock 
induced the idea of innocence, 
which Sebastian's virgin bloom 
also taught. The quality of his 
sermons did not grow thread- 
bare under this adventitious 
criticism : he kept a serene 
front, lost no authority, nor 
failed of any unction. There 
was always a file at his confes- 
sional; and at Corpus Christi, 
when in the pageant he actually 
figured as Sebastian, his plump 
round limbs roped to a pine- 
stock drew tears from all eyes. 
Unhappily you have to pay 
for your successes. There were 
other preachers in Verona, and 
other eloquent preachers, per la 
Santissima, who, being honest 
men, had to depend upon their 
eloquence. These were the 
enemy Franciscans, of course, 
and Dominicans who got wind 
of something amiss, and began 
to nose for a scandal. What 
they got gave them something 



besides eloquence to lean on : 
there were other sermons than 
young Fra Battista's, and the 
moral his person pointed had 
now a double edge. In fact, 
where he pointed with his per- 
son, the Dominicans pointed 
with their sharp tongues. The 
Franciscans, more homely, 
pointed with their fingers. 
Fra Battista began to be noto- 
rious a thing widely different 
from fame ; he also began to 
be uncomfortable, and his supe- 
rior with him. They talked 
it over in the cloister, walking 
up and down together in the 
cool of the day. "It has an 
ugly look, my dear," said the 
provincial; "send the young 
woman to me." 

What of the young woman, 
meantime? Let me tell the 
truth : motherhood became her 
so well that she "was brazen 
from the very beginning. No 
delicacy, no pretty shame, no 
shrinking she gloried in the 
growing fact. When she was 
brought to bed she made a 
quick recovery ; she insisted 
upon a devout churching, an 
elaborate christening of the 
doubtful son (whereat, if you 
will believe me, no other than 
Fra Battista himself must do 
the office !) ; thenceforth she was 
never seen without her bambino. 
While she worked it lay at her 
feet or across her knee like a 
stout chrysalis ; the breast was 
ever at its service, pillow or 
fount; when it slept she lifted 
up a finger or her grave eyes at 
the very passers-by ; her lips 
moulded a " Hush ! " at them 
lest they should dare disturb 
her young lord's rest. The 
saucy jade! Was ever such 



1899.1 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



327 



impudence in the world before ? 
It drew her, too, to old Bal- 
dassare in a remarkable way. 
This the neighbours busy with 
sniffing did not see. She had 
always had a sense of the sweet 
root under the rind, always 
purred at his stray grunts and 
pats, taking them by instinct 
for what they were really 
worth; and now to watch his 
new delight filled her with 
gratitude and more, she felt 
free to love the man. For one 
thing, it unlocked his lips and 
hers. She could sing about the 
house since Cola had come 
they had christened him after 
good Saint Nicholas because 
Master Baldassare was so talka- 
tive on his account. The old 
man sat at home whenever he 
could, in his shiny arm-chair, his 
cup of black wine by his side, 
and watched Yanna with the 
baby by the hour together, por- 
ing over every downward turn 
of her pretty head, every pass 
of her fingers, every little eager 
striving of the sucking child. 
There were, indeed, no bounds 
to his content : to be a father 
poor old soul ! seemed to him 
the most glorious position in 
the world. Can Grande II. in 
the judgment -seat, the bishop 
stalled in his throne, the Holy 
Father himself in the golden 
chambers of his castle at Avig- 
non, had nothing to offer Ser 
Baldassare Dardicozzo, the old- 
clothesman. 

Though the neighbours knew 
nothing of this inner peace, they 
could not deny that Monna 
Vanna, brazen or no, was 
mightily become by her new 
dignity or (as you should say) 
indignity. She was more staid, 



more majestic ; but 110 less the 
tall, swaying, crowned girl she 
had ever been. She was seen, 
without doubt, for a splendid 
young woman. The heavy child 
seemed not to drag her down, 
nor the skeered looks of respect- 
able citizens, her neighbours, to 
lower her head. She met them 
with level eyes quite candid, and 
a smiling mouth to all appear- 
ance pure. When she found 
they would not discuss her 
riches she talked of theirs. 
When she found them over- 
satisfied with their children, 
she laughed quietly as one who 
knew better. This was a thing 
to take away a woman's breath, 
that she should grow the more 
glorious for her shame. Party 
feeling had been stormy, like 
crossing tides, between those 
who held Baldassare for a gull 
and those who resented Vanna's 
unruffled brows. But now there 
was but one party. It was very 
well to hoodwink an old skin- 
flint ; but, by the Mass ! not 
honest to flaunt your methods 
in the world's face. And since 
our own dignity is the skin 
upon which we rely for all 
our protection, while contempt 
for our neighbours is but a 
grease we put upon it for its 
ease, it was self-defence which 
brought it about that the party 
against Vanna grew ominously 
large, while Baldassare gained 
quite a host of sympathisers. 
The girl was now shunned, os- 
tentatiously, carefully shunned. 
Even La Testolina was shy of 
her. But, bless you, she saw 
nothing of it or cared nothing. 
She chattered to her grossly 
deceived husband, went (nomin- 
ally, you may be sure !) con- 



328 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



fessing to the grossly deceiving 
friar, she cooed to her baby, 
warbled her little songs, looked 
handsome, carried herself nobly, 
as if she were the Blessed Vir- 
gin herself, no less. This could 
not be endured : a thousand 
tongues were ready to shoot 
at her, and would have shot 
but for fear of old Baldassare's 
grim member reputed forked. 
While he was in the way, fat- 
headed fool, there was no moral 
glow to be won by a timely 



word. The tongues lay itch- 
ing ; two or three barren "wo- 
men in the Via Stella were 
hoarding stones. 

Then, just about the time 
when the prior of the Carmel- 
ites bid Fra Battista send him 
the young woman, Baldassare 
took the road for a round of 
chaffer which might keep him 
out of Verona a week. The 
Via SteUa felt, and Fra Bat- 
tista knew, that the chance had 
come. 



IV. THE HARVEST OF LITTLE EASE. 



Verona, stormy centre of 
strife, whose scarred grey face 
still wears a blush when viewed 
from the ramp of the Giusti 
garden, was in those times a 
place of short and little ease. 
The swords were never rusty. 
A warning clang from the 
belfry, two or three harsh 
strokes, the tall houses dis- 
gorged, the streets packed, 
Capulet faced Montague, 
Bevilacqua caught Bidolfi by 
the throat, and Delia Scala 
sitting in his hall knew that 
he must do murder if he would 
live a prince. It seems odd 
that the suckling of a little 
shopkeeper should lead to such 
issues ; but so it was. And 
thus it was. 

On the morning of Baldas- 
sare's setting-out for the Man- 
tuan road, La Testolina at 
that time much and unhealthily 
in Fra Battista's hire came 
breathless to the Via Stella. 
Craning her quick head round 
the door-post, she saw Vanna 
sitting all in cool white (for the 
weather was at the top of 



summer), stooped over her baby, 
happy and calm as always, and 
fingering her breast that she 
might give the little tyrant ease* 
of his drink. That baby was a 
glutton. " Hist, Vanna, hist ! " 
La Testolina whispered, and 
Vanna looked up at her with 
a guarded smile, as who should 
say, " Speak softer, my dear, 
lest Cola should strangle in his- 
swallow." 

But La Testolina's eyes were 
like pin-points, centring all her 
alarms. 

" You must come to the Car- 
melites, Vanna. There is a 
great to-do. The warden of 
San Francesco has been to the 
bishop, and the bishop is with 
Can Grande at this moment. 
You must come, indeed, at 
once subitissimo 1 " 

Vanna laughed the rich 
quiet laugh of a girl whose 
affairs are in good train, and 
all other affairs the scratch of 
a flea. 

"Why, what have I to do 
with the bishop and Can Grande, 
La Testolina ? " says she. " My 






1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



329 



master is out, and I must mind 
the shop. There is baby too." 

" By Saints Pan and Silvanus, 
my girl, it will be the worse for 
you if you come not," said La 
Testolina with a tragic sniff. 
"Eh, you little fool, don't you 
know that it is you and your 
brat have set all Verona by the 
ears?" 

Vanna had never thought of 
the ears of Verona, and knew 
not how to think of them now ; 
but she saw that her friend was 
in a fever of suppressed know- 
ledge. Therefore she shawled 
her head and her baby in her 
sea-blue cloak, locked the shop- 
door, and followed La Testo- 
lina. 

The sealed gates in the white 
oonvent wall were barred and 
double-locked. A scared brother 
cocked his eye through the grille 
to see who was there. " She 
is here," hissed La Testolina. 
"Dio mio, the causa causans!" 
cried he, and let them in through 
a cranny. "Follow me, mis- 
tresses, and God give good 
ending to this adventure," he 
prayed as he slippered up 
the court. Vanna, blank and 
smiling, La Testolina with wan- 
dering fearful eyes, followed. 

They found the prior sitting 
well back in his ebony chair and 
in a meditation, his chin buried 
in his hand. Behind him (and 
behind his back his hands) stood 
Fra Corinto the pittanciar, pock- 
marked, thin, and mortified. He 
looked the prior's reproach, and 
was. 

"Now, women," said the 
prior testily a fat and flabby 
old man with a sour mouth 
" Now, women, which of you is 
at the bottom of this accursed 



business ? Where is the baby ? 
Let me judge for myself." 

La Testolina, protesting her 
remarkable innocence by every 
quiver of her head, edged Vanna 
to the front. Vanna stood up, 
straight as a candle, and un- 
veiled her bosom. 

" Do you want to see my little 
son, reverend prior ? " she said. 
"Behold him here (Eccolott)." 
She held him out proudly in her 
arms, as if he were monstrance 
and she priest. 

Now whether it was that 
motherhood had fired a comely 
girl with the beautiful serious- 
ness of a woman, so that she 
was transfigured before him ; or 
whether some chance passage 
of the crossing lights played 
tricks with his vision which it 
was, or whether it was both, I 
know not. He saw, or thought 
he saw, a tall smiling lady, 
hooded in blue over white, hold- 
ing up a child ; he saw, or 
thought for a moment that he 
saw, the Image of all Mothers 
displaying the Image of all 
Sons. His fingers pattered over 
his scapular. "Eh, my Lady 
the Virgin! What dost thou 
here, glorifying this place?" 
As soon as he had said it he 
knew that he was a fool ; 
Vanna's large grey eyes loomed 
upon him to swallow him up, 
her colour of faint rose glowed 
and throbbed. Vera incessu 
patuit dea ! By her presence ye 
shall judge her, quoth the prior 
to himself, and hid his eyes. 

There was a hush over all the 
group in the chamber, during 
which you could have heard far 
off the nasal discords of the 
brethren in choir droning 
through an office. No one 



330 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



spoke. The prior's lips moved 
at his prayers; Fra Corinto 
looked frowningly before him ; 
La Testolina was fidgety to 
speak, but dared not ; Yanna, 
her long form like a ripple of 
moonlight in the dusk, cooed 
under her voice to the baby; 
he, unheeding cause of so much 
strife in high places, held out 
his pair of puckered hands and 
crowed to the company. So 
with their thoughts : the prior 
thought he had seen the Holy 
Virgin ; Fra Corinto thought 
the prior an old fool ; La Testo- 
lina hoped his reverence had 
not the colic ; and Yanna 
thought of nothing at all. 

Fra Corinto it was (looking 
not for Madonna in a baggage), 
who, by discreetly coughing, 
brought his master back to his 
senses. The prior cleared his 
throat once or twice, looked at 
the young woman, and felt quite 
himself. Ridiculous what tricks 
a flicker of sunlight will play 
on the wisest of men ! 

" Monna Yanna," said he, " I 
have not brought you here to 
judge between you and my 
brother Battista (now at dis- 
cipline in his cell). The flesh, 
which he should have tamed, 
has raised, it appears, a bruised 
head for one last spite. My 
brother was bitten, and my 
brother fell into sin. Whether, 
as of old, the tempter was the 
woman, it is sure that, as of 
old, the eater "was a man. I 
will not condemn you unheard, 
lest I incur reproach in my 
turn. But our order is in 
peril ; the enemy is abroad, with 
Envy, Hatred, and Malice bark- 
ing on their leashes. What 
can the poor sheep do but 



scatter before the wolves ? Fra 
Battista, his penance duly done, 
must leave Yerona ; and you, 
my sister, must do penance, 
that God be not mocked, nor 
the Yeronese upraised to mock 
Him." 

Of this solemn appeal, Yanna, 
to all seeming, understood not 
one word. True, she blushed a 
little, but that was because a 
prior was talking to her : her 
honest grey eyes were quite un- 
troubled, her smile as tender 
as ever. She spoke as one 
deprecating temerity that she 
should speak at all to so great 
a man and by no means any 
judgment. 

"I am only a poor girl, 
reverend prior," said she, 
"most ignorant and thick- 
witted. Pray, ^vhat have I 
and my baby to do with these 
high matters of Fra Battista's 
error?" 

The prior grew angry, " Tush, 
my woman," he grunted, " I beg 
you to drop the artless. It is 
useless here. Let me look at 
the youngster." 

" Yes, yes, mistress, let us see 
the child," said Fra Corinto, 
who croaked like a nightingale 
in June. 

Yanna moved forward on a 
light foot. "Willingly, reverend 
fathers," said she. "He is a 
fine child, they all say, and re- 
puted the image of his father." 
A sublime utterance, full of 
humoursome matter, if it had 
been a time for humours. 

But it was not. La Testolina 
could not contain her virtuous 
indignation for who is so tran- 
scendently righteous as your 
rascal for once in the right? 

" Hey, woman ! " she cried 



1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



331 



shrilly, " what grossness is this ? 
Do you think the whole city 
don't know about you ? " 

Vanna turned quivering. 
"And what is it that the 
whole city knows but does not 
say, if you please?" 

The prior raised his hands. 
Like Pilate, he would have 
washed off the business if he 
could. He looked at the two 
women. Eh, by the Lord ! there 
would be a scene. But the 
whole thing was too impudent 
a fraud : there must be an end 
of it. He caught Fra Corinto's 
eye and raised his brows. Fra 
Corinto was his jackal here 
was his cue. He went swiftly 
to the door, set it open, came 
back and caught Vanna roughly 
by the shoulder. He turned 
her shocked face to the open 
door, and his dry voice grated 
horribly upon her ears. 

" Out with you, drab ! " was 
what he said, and Vanna reeled. 
For a full minute she gaped at 
him for a meaning ; his face 
taught the force of his words 
only too well. She sobbed, 
threw up her high head, bent it, 
like Jesus, for the cross, and fled. 

The old porter leered by his 
open gates. " He ! he ! They 
are all outside," he chuckled 
"Magpies and Dusty-hoods, Par- 
vuses, Minors, Minims, Benets, 
and Austins, every cowl in 
Verona ! Come along, my hand- 
some girl, you must move brisk- 
ish this day ! " She heard the 
hoarse muttering of the men, 
and, a worse poison for good 
ears, the shrill venom of the 
women. Out of the gates she 
blindly went, and all the pack 
opened their music upon her. 
Stones flew, but words flew 



faster and stuck more deep. 
The mob, as she blundered 
through the streets, shuffling, 
gasping, stumbling at her caught 
gown, dry-eyed, open-mouthed, 
panting her terror, her bewilder- 
ment, her shame and amaze 
the mob, I say, dizzied about 
her like a cloud of wasps; yet 
they had in them what wasps 
have not voices primed by 
hatred to bay her mad. There 
was no longer any doubt for 
her : the pittanciar's word (which 
had not been "drab") was tossed 
from pavement to pavement, 
from balcony to balcony, out 
at every open door, shot like 
slops from every leaning case- 
ment, and hissed in her ears as 
it flew. It was a mad race. 
The Franciscans tucked up their 
frocks and discarded stones, that 
they might run and shout the 
more freely. The Dominicans 
soon tired : their end was served. 
The cloistered orders were out 
of condition ; the secular clergy 
came to weary of what was, 
after all, but a matter for the 
mendicants. The common people, 
however, had the game well in 
hand. They headed her off the 
narrow streets, where safety 
might have been, and kept her 
to the Lung' Adige. Round 
the great S the river makes 
she battled her blind way, try- 
ing for nothing, with wits for 
nothing, without hope, or under- 
standing, or thought. She ran, 
a hunted woman, straight before 
her, and at last shook off the 
last of her pursuers by San 
Zeno. Stumbling headlong into 
a little pine -wood beyond the 
gates, she fell, swooned, and 
forgot. 

It was near dark when she 



332 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



opened her loaded eyes that is, 
there was no moon, but a great 
concourse of stars, which kept 
the night as a long time of 
dusk. The baby was awake, 
too, groping for food and "whim- 
pering a little. She sat up to 
supply him : though in that act 
her brain swam, it is probable 
the duty saved her. Fearing 
to faint again, she dared not 



allow herself to think for chil- 
dren must be fed though their 
mothers are stoned from the 
gates. Vanna nursed him till 
he dropped asleep, and sat on 
with her thoughts and troubles. 
Happily for her, he had turned 
these to other roads than the 
Lung' Adige. She knew that 
if he was to be fed again she 
must feed also. 



V. THE MIRACLE OF THE PEACH-TREE. 



Directly you were outside the 
Porta San Zeno the peach-trees 
began acre by acre of bent 
trunks, whose long branches, 
tied at the top, took shapes of 
blown candle - flames : beyond 
these was an open waste of 
bents and juniper scrub, which 
afforded certain eatage for 
goats. 

Here three herd-boys, Luca, 
Biagio, and Astorre, simple 
brown -skinned souls, watched 
their flocks all the summer 
night, sleeping, waking to play 
pranks with each other, whining 
endless doggerel, praying at every 
scare, and swearing at every 
reassurance. Simple puppyish 
folk though they were, Madonna 
of the Peach-tree chose them to 
witness her epiphany. 

It was a very still night, of 
wonderful star-shine, but with- 
out a moon. The stars were 
so thickly spread, so clear and 
hot, that there was light enough 
for the lads to see each other's 
faces, the rough shapes of each 
other. It was light enough to 
notice how the square belfry of 
San Zeno cut a wedge of black 
into the spangled blue vault. 
Sheer through the Milky Way 



it ploughed a broad furrow, 
which ended in a ragged edge. 
You would never have seen 
that if it had not been a clear 
night. 

Still also it was. You heard 
the cropping of the goats, the 
jaws' champ when they chewed 
the crisp leaves ; the flicker of 
the bats' wings. In the marsh, 
half a mile away, the chorus 
of frogs, when it swelled up, 
drowned all nearer noise ; but 
when it broke off suddenly, those 
others resumed their hold upon 
the stillness. It was a breath- 
less night of suspense. Any- 
thing might happen on such 
a night. 

Luca, Biagio, and Astorre, 
under the spell of this marvel- 
lous night, lay on their stomachs 
alert for alarms. A heavy - 
wheeling white owl had come 
by with a swish, and Biagio 
had called aloud to Madonna 
in his agony. Astorre had 
crossed himself over and over 
again: this was the Angel of 
Death cruising abroad on the 
hunt for goats or goat-herds ; 
but "No, no !" cried Luca, eldest 
of the three, " the wings are too 
short, friends. That is a fluffy 






1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



333 



new soul just let loose. She 
knows not the way, you see. 
Let us pray for her. There 
are devils abroad on such close 
nights as this." Pray they did, 
with a will, " Ave Maria," 
" O Maris stella," and half the 
Paternoster, when Biagio burst 
into a guffaw, and gave Luca a 
push which sent Astorre down. 
"Why, 'tis only a screech-owl, 
you fools ! " he cried, though the 
sound of his own voice made 
him falter ; "an old mouse - 
teaser," he went on in a much 
lower voice. " Who's afraid ? " 
A black-and-white cat mak- 
ing a pounce had sent hearts to 
mouths after this : though they 
found her out before they had 
got to "Dominus tecum," she 
left them all in a quiver. It 
had been a cat, but it might 
have been the devil. Then, 
before the bristles had folded 
down on their backs, they rose 
up again, and the hair of their 
heads became rigid as quills. 
Over the brow of a little hill, 
through the peach-trees (which 
bowed their spiry heads to her 
as she walked), came quietly a 
tall white Lady in a dark cloak. 
Hey ! powers of earth and air, 
but this was not to be doubted ! 
Evenly forward she came, with- 
out a footfall, without a rustle 
or a crackling twig, without 
so much as kneeing her skirt 
stood before them so nearly 
that they saw the pale oval of 
her face, and said in a voice like 
a muffled bell, "I am hungry, my 
friends ; have you any meat ? " 
She had a face like the moon, 
and great round eyes ; within 
her cloak, on the bosom of her 
white dress, she held a man- 
child. He, they passed their 



sacred word, lifted in his 
mother's arms and turned open- 
handed towards them. Luca, 
Biagio, and Astorre, goat-herds 
all and honest lads, fell on their 
faces with one accord ; with one 
voice they cried, "Madonna, 
Madonna, Madonna ! pray for 
us sinners ! " 

But again the Lady spoke in 
her gentle tones. " I am very 
hungry, and my child is hungry. 
Have you nothing to give me ? " 
So then Luca kicked the prone 
Biagio, and Biagio's heel nicked 
Astorre on the shin. But it was 
Luca, as became the eldest, who 
got up first, all the same ; and 
as soon as he was on his feet 
the others followed him. Luca 
took his cap off, Biagio saw the 
act and followed it. Astorre, 
who dared not lift his eyes, and 
was so busy making crosses on 
himself that he had no hands 
to spare, kept his on till Luca 
nudged Biagio, and Biagio 
cuffed him soundly, saying, 
"Uncover, cow-face." 

Then Luca on his knees made 
an offering of cheese and black 
bread to the Lady. They saw 
the gleam of her white hand as 
she stretched it out to take the 
victual. That hand shone like 
agate in the dark. They saw 
her eat, sitting very straight 
and noble upon a tussock of 
bents. Astorre whispered to 
Biagio, Biagio consulted with 
Luca for a few anxious moments, 
and communicated again with 
Astorre. Astorre jumped up 
and scuttled away into the 
dark. Presently he came back, 
bearing something in his two 
hands. The three shock-heads 
inspected his burden ; there was 
much whispering, some conten- 



334 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



tion, almost a scuffle. The truth 
was, that Biagio wanted to take 
the thing from Astorre, and that 
Luca would not allow it. Luca 
was the eldest, and wanted to 
take it himself. Astorre was 
in tears. " Cristo amore ! " he 
blubbered, "you will spill the 
milk between you. I thought 
of it all by myself. Let go, 
Biagio ; let go, Luca ! " So 
they "whispered and tussled, 
pulling three different ways. 
The Lady's voice broke over 
them like silver rain. " Let 
him who thought of the kind 
act give me the milk," she said ; 
so young Astorre on his knees 
handed her the horn cup, and 
through the cracks of his fingers 
watched her drink every drop. 

That done, the cup returned 
with a smile piercingly sweet, 
the Lady rose. Saints on 
thrones, how tall she was ! 
"Bambino will thank you for 
this to-morrow, as I do now," 
said she. " Good - night, my 
friends, and may the good God 
have mercy upon all souls ! " 
She turned to go the way she 
had come, but Astorre, covering 
his eyes with one hand, crept 
forward on three legs (as you 
might say) and plucked the 
hem of her robe up, and kissed 
it. She stooped to lay a hand 
upon his head. "Never kiss 
my robe, Astorre," she said 
and how under heaven did she 
know his name if she were not 
what she was ? " never kiss my 
robe, but get up and let me 
kiss you." Well of Truth, to 
think of it ! Up gets Astorre, 
shaking like a nun in a fit, and 
the Lady bent over him and, as 
sure as you are you, kissed his 
forehead. Astorre told his vil- 



lage next day as they sat round 
him in a ring, and he on the 
well-head as plain to be seen as 
this paper, that he felt at that 
moment as if two rose-leaves 
had dropped from heaven upon 
his forehead. Slowly then, very 
slowly and smoothly (as they 
report), did the Lady move away 
towards the peach-trees whence 
she had come. In the half light 
there was for by this it was 
the hour before dawn they 
saw her take a peach from one 
of the trees. She stayed to eat 
it. Then she walked over the 
crest of the orchard and dis- 
appeared. As soon as they 
dared, when the light had come, 
they looked for her over that 
same crest, but could see noth- 
ing whatever. With pale seri- 
ous faces the three youths re- 
garded each other. There was 
no doubt as *to what had hap- 
pened a miracle ! a miracle ! 

With one consent then since 
this was plainly a Church affair 
they ran to their parish priest, 
Don Gasparo. He got the whole 
story at last ; nothing could 
shake them ; no detail was 
wanting. Thus it was : the 
Blessed Virgin, carrying in her 
arms the Santissimo Bambino 
Gesu, had come through the 
peach-trees, asked for and eaten 
of their food, prayed for them 
aloud toMesserDomeneddio him- 
self, and kissed Astorre on the 
forehead. As they were on their 
knees, she walked away, stopped, 
took a peach, ate it, walked on, 
vanished ecco / The curate 
rubbed his head, and tried an- 
other boy. Useless : the boy 
was the same. Third boy, same 
story. He tucked up his cassock 
with decision, took his biretta 



1899. 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



335 



and walking-staff, and said to 
the three goat-herds, " My lads, 
all this is matter of miracle. I 
do not deny its truth God 
forbid it in a simple man such 
as I am. But I do certainly 
ask you to lead me to the scene 
of your labours." 

The boys needed no second 
asking : off they all set. The 
curate "went over every inch of 
the ground. Here lay Luca, 
Biagio, and Astorre ; the belfry 
of San Zeno was in such and 
such a direction, the peach-trees 
in such and such. Good : there 
they were. What next ? Ac- 
cording to their account, Ma- 
donna had come thus and thus. 
The good curate bundled off to 
spy for footprints in the orchard. 
Marvel ! there were none. This 
made him look very grave ; for 
if she made no earthly footprints 
she could have no earthly feet. 
Next he must see by what way 
she had gone. She left them 
kneeling here, said they, went 
towards the peach-garden, stayed 
by a certain tree (which they 
pointed out), plucked a peach 
from the very top of it this 
they swore to, though the tree 
was near fourteen feet high 
stood while she ate it, and went 
over the brow of the rising 
ground. Here was detail enough, 
it is to be hoped. The curate 
nosed it out like a slot-hound ; 
he paced the track himself from 
the scrub to the peach-tree, and 
stood under this last gazing to 
its top, from there to its roots ; 
he shook his head many times, 
stroked his chin a few: then 
with a broken cry he made a 



pounce and picked up a peach- 
stone ! After this to doubt 
would have been childish ; as a 
fact he had no more than the 
boys. "My children," said he, 
"we are here face to face with 
a great mystery. It is plain 
that Messer Domeneddio hath 
designs upon this hamlet, of 
which we, His worms, have no 
conception. You, my dear 
sons, He hath chosen to be 
workers for His purpose, which 
we cannot be very far wrong in 
supposing to be the building of 
an oratory or tabernacle to hold 
this unspeakable relic. That 
erection must be our immediate 
anxious care. Meantime I will 
place the relic in the pyx of our 
Lady's altar, and mark the day 
in our calendar for perpetual 
remembrance. I shall not fail 
to communicate with his holi- 
ness the bishop. Who knows 
what may be the end of this ? " 

He was as good as his word. 
A procession was formed in no 
time children carrying their 
rosaries and bunches of flowers, 
three banners, the whole village 
with a candle apiece ; next Luca, 
Biagio, and Astorre with larger 
candles half a pound weight 
each at the least ; then four 
men to hold up a canopy, below 
which came the good curate him- 
self with the relic on a cushion. 

It was deposited with great 
reverence in the place devoted, 
having been first drenched with 
incense. There was a solemn 
mass. After which things the 
curate thought himself at liberty 
to ruffle into Yerona with his 
news. 



336 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



VI. THE VISITATION OF THE GOLDEN FISH. 



When a beast of chase hart- 
royal, bear, or wolf has been 
bayed and broken up, the least 
worthy parts are thrown to the 
curs which always come up at 
the heels of the pack. S o it is with 
a kingly seat : the best of the 
meats, after the great officers of 
the household have feasted, go 
to the dependants of these ; the 
peelings and guttings, the very 
offal and scour of the broth, are 
flung farther, to the parasites of 
the parasites, the ticks on ticks' 
backs. Round about the Castle 
of Verona, where Can Grande 
II. misused the justice which his 
forefathers had set up, lay the 
houses of his courtiers ; beyond 
them the lodgings of the grooms; 
beyond them again, down to 
the river's brink, were the stews 
and cabins and unholy dens 
whose office was to be lower 
than the lowest, that there 
might still be degrees for the 
gentlemen of gentlemen's gentle- 
men. And since even cock- 
roaches must drink, in this 
fungus - bed of misery there 
flourished a rather infamous 
tavern by the sale of vino nos- 
trano, black and sour, of cer- 
tain sausages, black also and 
nameless, speckled with white 
lumps, and of other wares whom 
to name were to expose. This 
was the tavern of the Golden 
Fish. 

On the evening of the day of 
the Translation of the Peach- 
stone, this tavern was full to 
suffocation. Stefano, the purple- 
faced host, in shirt and breeches, 
stood dealing the liquor from a 
tub. Two outlaws lay under 



the benches, partly for fear of 
a visit from the watch, partly 
because, having already fallen 
there once, they feared to fall 
there again if they rose. In 
one hand each held his knife, 
in the other his empty mug. 
Two ladies, intimates of theirs, 
Kobaccia and Crucciacorda, sat 
immediately above them, with 
petticoats ready to make am- 
bush the moment a staff should 
rattle at the door; round the 
table half-a-dozen shabby rogues 
bickered over their cards ; Pica- 
gente, the hairy brigand, lay 
snoring across the threshold, 
and his dog on him ; on a barrel 
in a corner a gigantic shepherd 
in leather, with bandaged legs 
and a patch over one eye, shut 
the other eye while he roared a* 
hymn to Bacchus at the top 
stretch of his lungs. The oil- 
lamp flickered, flared, and 
gloomed, half drowned in the 
fumes of wine. A smell of 
wicked bodies, foul clothes, 
drink, and bad language made 
the air wellnigh solid. The 
hour was at the stroke of 
ten; outside the streets seemed 
asleep. 

In the middle of the uproar 
Stefano the host looked up 
sharply, listening. 

" Stop your devil's ferment, 
Malabocca ! " he thundered at 
the shepherd; "stop it, or I'll 
split your crown." 

" Bacco trionfante, 
Amante e spumante, 
Evviva I s ubbriacchezza ! " 

roared Malabocca, screwing up 
his eye. Stefano brought down 



1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



337 



a mug full of wine upon his 
pate, which gave him a red 
baptism. " Hist, you block- 
head, hist ! " said his host. 
"There is a stir outside the 
door I tell you ! " The shepherd 
grew sober in a moment. 

There was a brief scramble in 
the room then silence. The 
ladies' petticoats went farther 
than they were ever intended to 
go; Picagente rolled over and 
over till he reached cover under 
the table ; the cards were hidden, 
all the players' heads buried in 
their elbows. Stefano blew out 
the light. Then they heard dis- 
tinctly a fluttering knock at the 
door, timid but continuous. 

Feigning a yawn, Stefano 
growled, " Who's there at this 
hour?" 

The answer came in a woman's 
voice, saying, "Open, open, in 
the name of high God." It 
brought every head into the air 
again, but hushed every breath. 

The shepherd broke the silence 
with a groan. He brought his 
hand splashing on to his wet 
head, then fell to his knees and 
began to confess his sins. 

" My fault, my fault, my ex- 
ceeding great fault ! O Mary ! 
O Jesus ! nobis peccatori- 
bus I " Thus the shepherd, 
voicing the suspicions of the 
rest. So he became their 
prophet as well as their priest. 
He towered in the room. 

"I tell you, comrades, that 
the hour of our visitation is 
come. Not Can Grande and 
his hounds are hunting us this 
night ; not the tumbril, the 
branding -irons, nor the cart's 
tail, are for us, but the pains of 
death, the fire eternal, the untir- 
able worm, the trumpet of the 



Last Things ! Who comes 
knocking in high God's name? 
Who saith, < Open ' ? I will tell 
you : it is She who last night lit 
upon my village and my own 
sister's son. Eh ! bodies of all 
dogs, what will become of us 
sinners ? " Here the shepherd 
beat the drum of his breast as a 
signal before he fell flat on the 
floor. 

From behind his wailful voice 
the gentle knocking was heard 
running on. It had never 
ceased ; it was insistent ! Cross- 
ing himself desperately, Stefano 
slid back the bolts, then paused, 
then turned the key, then paused 
again to breathe hard, his hand 
upon the latch. He threw his 
head forward with a gesture of 
abandonment to what must be, 
flung wide the door, and dropped 
upon his two knees. 

Against a mild radiance, softer 
than any lamp could shed, was 
a tall shrouded woman's figure. 
They saw the round of her 
cloaked head, they saw the white 
stream of her under -robe run 
from a peak at her bosom in a 
broadening path to her feet. 
They saw the pure grey moon 
of her face, guessed by the dark 
rings where her eyes should be, 
watched with quicker awe the 
slow movement of her arms, 
lifted their own to what she 
held up, and to the running 
under-current of the two sob- 
bing drabs muttered in one 
voice their remembered adora- 
tion. 

The tall shepherd rose up by 
the help of the table, swayed 
and spoke. No one knew his 
voice again, hollow as it was 
like the sea-grumble. " O Holi- 
est, O Kose, O Stem of Sharon, 



338 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



O Tree of Carmel!" said he. 
"What wouldest thou with us 
sinners ? " 

And the woman at the door 
said, "My friends, I have no 
roof to my head ; will you take 
me in ? I am hungry ; have 
you no meat for my child and 
me?" 

The host in Stefano jogged 
the sinner to speak. "Surely, 
surely, sweet Lady! Surely, 
surely. I entreat your Gracious- 
ness to enter, to step in, to ac- 
commodate, to sit down, to be 
pleased to be easy, to to to 

" inspiration failed him 

" to sit down, in short," was his 
lame conclusion. His sweat (as 
he said next day) would have 
blinded any other man. 

Through the backing ranks of 
the scared company Robaccia 
leaning face to the wall, sob- 
bing her heart out ; Picagente, 
the hairy brigand, breathing 
short and hard ; the shepherd, 
glorified, exalted, bursting with 
prophecy; two thieves at their 
prayers and a wanton taking 
the words from them, through 
such an assembly the Lady of 
the Peach-tree (who else, pray ?) 
walked to the table. A soft 
grey light from without filled 
the room ; there was no need of 
a lamp, nor did any eye then on 
watch fail to see all that fol- 
lowed. Bread and wine were 
served by Stefano on bent knee ; 
bread and wine (but sparingly) 
did the Lady eat from cup and 
platter. That cup, that platter, 
encased in gold leaves and 
crusted with turquoise, are to 
this day in the Treasury. 
Crutches have been cast be- 
fore them, hearts innumerable 
burn about them. When she 



had finished she sat a little 
while with her white cheek 
against her hand, whispering 
words in an unknown tongue 
(they said, who knew no baby 
language) to the child on her 
lap. He lifted up a little hand, 
and, "Eh, my son, my son," she 
said, "wilt thou take of me?" 
Then she gave him the breast, 
while not a soul said anything 
but prayers for half an hour. 

When the child slept the Lady 
folded up her dress, covered him 
with her cloak, and rose up in 
their midst. 

" Only the poor love the 
poor," said she, in those low 
tones which all Verona came to 
know by heart, " and only they 
who have little to eat give to 
them that have less. My little 
son will bless you for your 
charity ; and I, good friends, 
will pray my master to reward 
you when he comes. Addio, 
addio, be with God." Then she 
would have gone and left them 
crying had not Eobaccio, the 
blowsy wench and good -for - 
naught, wailed aloud and caught 
her by the knees. 

" Mother, mother, mother ! " 
whimpered this hardy rascal, 
" bless me a little more than the 
others, a very little more ! I 
am bad Eh, God, I am vile 
enough ! but I will never let 
thee go save thou kiss me." 

You could have heard the 
roomful of them catch breath to- 
gether. Crucciacorda, the other 
woman, laughed horribly; the 
shepherd made a step forward 
to drag the slut away. But 
no ! The light seemed to swell 
and grow towards that point 
where it threatens to be music, 
so charged with messages it is 



1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



339 



it came undoubtedly from the 

heart of the Lady through her 
smile. For smile she did, as 
sweetly, as tenderly, as a break- 
ing cloud. The sun of her smile 
was like a clean breath in the 
stivy den ; and, behold, she took 
Robaccia by the hand and lifted 
her up, she encircled her with a 
mothering arm, and drew her 
-close to her own breast. Her 
lips touched the bad girl's 
-cheek, lingered for a moment 
there, wistfully withdrew; and 
Madonna of the Peach-tree, 
none staying her now, went out 
into the dead street, and was 
seen no more of that company. 

The sun at noon looked down 
upon Verona at peace, upon her 
citizens at their prayers. Never 
was such a scene in the stormy 
little city before. All the bells 
of all the churches pealed all 
day with no lack of arms to 
pull them. Men and women 
ran to and fro kissing whom 
they met, with a "Save you, 
brother!" "Save you, sister! 
well met, well met ! " The Grey 
Brethren, the Black Brethren, 
the White Brethren of Carmel, 
held hands, and confessed to 
each other as many sins as they 
had time to remember. Can 
Grande went unarmed about 
his own city, Bevilacqua un- 
barred his door, Giusti married 
his mistress, the bishop said his 
prayers. The cripples at the 
church doors had no need to 
whine. As for the tavern of 
the Golden Fish, it smelt of 
lavender and musk and berga- 
mot the day through. At one 
time there were eight litters 
with their bearers, eleven stal- 
lions, trapped and emblazoned, 
held by eleven grooms in livery, 



outside its door. The ladies of 
the litters were in the room 
upon their knees; the knights 
of the horses, their great hel- 
mets on their backs, knelt in 
the kennel praying devoutly. 
The wail of "Dies Irse" went 
down the Corso and up again, 
"Salve R-egina" wavered over 
the sunny spaces of the Bra. In 
the amphitheatre, after an open- 
air mass, the cardinal legate 
solemnly exposed the relics of 
last night's miracle, and a body- 
guard of twenty noble youths, 
six chaplains, and a Benedictine 
abbot went to the suburb to 
escort into the city the curate 
with the Peach-stone. It was a 
glorious day, never to be for- 
gotten in the annals of Verona. 
Charity and the open heart went 
side by side with compunction 
and the searching of the heart. 
Tears were shed and kissed 
away ; kisses induced the fall 
of gentler tears. It might be 
stoutly questioned whether Ver- 
ona held one unshriven soul, 
one sin unspoken, or one solace 
unawarded. 

It might be reasonably ques- 
tioned, yet it must be denied. 
Within the walls of the friars 
of Mount Carmel were two un- 
easy spirits. Fra Sulpicio, the 
fat prior, was extended face 
downwards before the high 
altar; Fra Battista, the elo- 
quent preacher, chewed his 
thumb in his cell. The pittan- 
ciar, on the other hand, was of 
the common mind. He was 
ambling down the Via Leoni 
with Brother Patricio of the 
Capuchins on one arm and 
Brother Martino of the Domini- 
cans on the other, singing " In 
Exitu Israel " like a choir-boy. 



340 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



But the prior, who had half be- 
lieved before, was sobbing his 
contrition into the pavement, 



and Fra Battista was losing 
faith in himself, the only faith 
he had. 



VII. LAST CONSIDERATIONS OF CAN GRANDE II. 



You are not to suppose that 
the spectacle of Verona garbed 
in a gown of innocence, singing 
hymns and weaving chaplets of 
lilies, was to go unnoticed by 
the ruling power. Can Grande 
II. was lord of Verona, a most 
atrocious rascal, and one of 
many ; but, like his famous an- 
cestor and namesake, he had a 
gibing tongue, which was evid- 
ence of a scrutiny tolerably cool 
of the shifts of human nature. 
Human nature, he had observed, 
must needs account to itself for 
itself. If it met with what it- 
did not understand, it was 
prompt to state the problem in 
a phrase which it could not ex- 
plain. The simplicity of the 
plan was as little to be denied 
as its convenience was obvious. 
It was thus that Can Grande 
II. understood the emotions of 
Verona ; it was thus, indeed, 
that he himself, confronted with 
statements and an explanation 
which did not satisfy him, ac- 
counted to himself like any 
mother's son of his lieges. He 
explained their explanation, but 
only by another inexplicable for- 
mula. The energy with which 
he expounded his own view to 
those about him betrayed, per- 
haps, a lurking uneasiness in 
the burly tyrant. 

"Pooh, my good lord," said 
he to the bishop, who had come 
full of the day's doings and 
night's report, " don't you know 
your own flock better than this? 



Did you ever hear a man with 
a broken limb attribute his mis- 
hap to other than Domeneddio ? 
However drunk he may have 
been, however absurdly in a 
hurry act of God! If it 
thunder and lighten of a sum- 
mer night, if it turn the milk 
a judgment ! Luckily Monsig- 
nore has broad shoulders by all 
accounts ; per Bacco / He had 
need. Now then, look at this 
case. A belated woman with a 
baby stumbles upon a company 
of shepherds all in the twittering 
dark. Hearts jump to mouths, 
flesh creeps, hairs stand tiptoe 
Madonna, of course ! Whom 
else could they call her, pray? 
They don't know the woman: 
name her they must. Well! 
Who is there they don't know 
whose name comes readiest to 
the tongue? Madonna, of course. 
Good : Ecco Madonna I " 

This was very eloquently 
reasoned, but the bishop shook 
his head. " It was not a brace 
of goat-herds last night, Excel- 
lency, but a roomful of brig- 
ands and their trulls in the 
Golden Fish. The worst com- 
pany in Verona, Excellency 
the most brazen, the most case- 
hardened. But the story is the 
same from their mouths as from 
the lads' ; not a detail is want- 
ing; not one point gives the 
lie to another. Excellency, I 
would bow to your wit in any 
case but this. The affair is in- 
explicable short of a miracle." 



1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



341 



Can Grande knit his black 
brows; he objected to be crossed, 
and the more so when he had a 
sneaking thought that he was 
rightly crossed. " I should like 
to see my Lady this night with 
my own eyes, bishop," said he. 

" Hey, Excellency," cried the 
other, "there are many devout 
souls in the same case." 

Can Grande pished. " De- 
vout jellyfish," he grunted ; and 
then " She seems to haunt one 
quarter, eh ? " 

"It is so, Excellency, save 
that yesterday she must have 
passed through the Porta San 
Zeno unseen of the guard." 

" Have you interrogated the 
guard?" asked the tyrant, 
sharply. 

" It was done, Highness. No- 
thing entered between Compline 
and Prime but a couple of bul- 
lock-carts and a cavalcade of 
merchants from Brescia." 

" What was in the bullock- 
carts, bishop?" 

" Birch-bark, Excellency, for 
the yards." 

"H'm ! " was all Can Grande 
had to say to this. 

He changed the conversation. 
" I have had the warden of the 
Minorites and the provincial of 
the Dominicans here this morn- 
ing," he said, "about that ac- 
cursed business of the ragpick- 
er's wife. It is another example 
of what I told you just now, 
that these people attribute what 
they cannot understand to per- 
sons they can only dream about. 
They put down the whole of 
your miracles to a special re- 
ward for their zeal in hounding 
down the Carmelite and his 
mistress. They want the order 
expelled; I think they would 

VOL. CLXV. NO. M. 



like the house razed and the 
church washed out with holy 
water, or Fra Battista's blood 
the latter for choice. Now, 
I cannot pull down religious 
houses, lord of Verona though I 
be, because a herd of frightened 
rascals have gone capering over 
the city singing, ' Salve festa 
dies.' I must really do the 
parties the honour of an inter- 
view before I draw the sword. 
Let me be sure which back I 
am going to score before I be- 
gin to carve. You had better 
bring the prior and Fra Lancil- 
lotto-Battista to me, and if you 
can collect the young woman 
and her brat, so much the 
better." 

" Alas ! Excellency, I fear the 
young woman is in pieces," said 
the bishop. " She has never 
been heard of since the day of 
her expulsion." 

The advice, however, was good, 
the judgment good enough; but 
before it could be followed a 
stroke more telling than any 
Can Grande's sword could have 
made was wrought by Madonna 
of the Peach-tree. 

On the night of that same 
day Can Grande was sitting in 
the palace with two chosen 
companions, as dare - devil as 
himself, waiting the hour of an 
assignation. It was about ten 
o'clock: at half -past the hour 
they were to go out cloaked in- 
to the streets, bent upon the 
lifting of a decent burgess's wife 
from her bed. Hence they were 
not in the castle, which is near 
San Zeno, but in the Delia 
Scala Palace, in the very heart 
of the city. The two accom- 
plices were Ubaldino Baldin- 
anza, a grey villain, and young 
Z 



342 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



[Feb. 



Francesco dellaRoccaRossa. All 
three were armed with swords 
and daggers; the cloaks lay 
with the masks on the table. 
A servant came to the door, 
knocked, and waited. Can 
Grande, who (to be just) feared 
no eye upon his goings, shouted 
him into the room. 

"Well, son of a pig," was 
his greeting, " and what is it 
now?" 

The fellow, whose teeth chat- 
tered in his head, announced a 
veiled lady, very tall, who would 
not be denied. Baldinanza 
grizzled and scarred as he was, 
took a quick breath and glanced 
at Rocca Rossa. The younger 
man was at no pains to conceal 
his emotions. His face ran the 
gamut from white to red, from 
red back again to white. It 
ended ashen. Neither looked 
at his master. 

" Let her in," said Can 
Grande ; and each noticed how 
laboriously he spoke. 

The servant turned to obey : 
there in the doorway stood the 
Lady. 

Tall enough she was, her 
head seemingly about a foot 
from the cross-beam of the door. 
She was cloaked from crown to 
foot ; nothing but the oval of 
her face, colourless white with 
lips very wan, and a droop to 
them inexpressibly sad, showed 
out of the dark column she 
made. The servant shrank in- 
to the passage and stayed there 
praying ; of the three men at 
the table only one, Can Grande 
himself, had the spirit left to be 
courteous. He got up ; the 
other two remained seated, 
Francesco with his face in his 
arms. 



" Madonna," began the ty- 
rant ; but she uncloaked her 
hand and put a finger to her 
sad lips. 

"I may not stay," she said, 
in a voice so weary as to draw- 
tears to Baldinanza's wicked 
old eyes "I may not stay; but 
I must warn you, Can Grande, 
before I go. Walk not in the 
streets this night, walk not by 
the Piazza, pass not the arched 
way; peril lies there. No sword 
shall help you, nor the royal 
seat you have, enter it not. 
Now I have warned you ; let 
me go." 

She put back her lifted hand 
under her cloak. Can Grande 
saw the round head of the Babe 
asleep. For five minutes after 
her disappearance no one spoke. 

Francesco was the first. He 
groaned, "God have mercy 
upon me a sinner," between his 
hands. Then Baldinanza began 
to swear by all devils in Christ- 
endom and Jewry, not blasphe- 
mously, but in sheer desperate 
search for a little courage. 
Can Grande shook his head like 
a water-clogged hound, as if to 
get the ring of that hollow 
voice out of his ears. The first 
to rise was the eldest of the 
three. His eyes were very 
bright, and you could see the 
long scar plainly shining on his 
cheek. "I am a sinner too," 
said he, "but this night I will 
sleep clean." He made to go. 

"Do you desert me, com- 
rade?" Can Grande asked. 
The old dog turned upon his 
master. 

" Mother of Pity ! " he said in 
a whisper, " you are never going 
after this ? "" 

" I am going, good sir. What 



1899.] 



Madonna of the Peach-tree. 



343 



of you?" Baldinanza blinked 
hard. " I am your s